Marijuana vs. Alcohol: The Fight for the Millennial Consumer

The Juice

Let’s dive into this controversial topic…

Marijuana vs. Alcohol: The Fight for the Millennial Consumer

According to a study done by Acosta on CBD consumers, “Over half (56%) of millennial respondents use CBD daily or as-needed, versus almost a third (32%) of Gen X and 15% of Baby Boomers.” 

Amidst the pandemic, 40.4% of Americans smoked marijuana once or twice a week. (Loud Cloud

Amidst the pandemic, alcohol consumption increased 28%.  (Blue Cross Blue Shield COVID-19 National Pulse Survey)

In a survey we conducted based on 100 millennials 74% said they enjoy cannabis products. Important to note however that 68% said they prefer alcohol to cannabis products. When we look at this, it tells us what the rest of our research has shown: Alcohol may have the lead in the race between alcohol and cannabis, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about the impact of the legalization of cannabis on the alcohol industry.

Now that 11 states have fully legalized both medical and recreational use and 33 states have made strides to legalize this substance, we need to use the cannabis industry as a great tool for learning more about how to market our alcoholic beverages to millennials.

Here’s what we know about Millennials and Cannabis:

When a millennial prefers cannabis consumption to alcohol they all have the same reasons: Less calories, no hangover.

So how do you utilize this information to convey to a millennial that your brand stands out and should be considered as the product of choice when determining how they’re going to spend their evening?

First of all, let’s address the calories issue.

Millennials as we know are more health conscious than ever. You’ll find many millennials adorned in the most fashionable athleisure even if they’re not going to a yoga class. The generation of Whole Foods, organic, sustainable and low calorie is seeking any way to have their cake and eat it too.

Millennials love the idea of a glass of wine at the end of the day, but the thought of 120 calories per glass can be quite daunting. But as we’ve seen time and time again, it’s not 120 calories, it’s that the number is not transparent.

Take a look at seltzers. Seltzers are practically sliding off the shelves every week at 100 calories a can. We all have to remember the famous White Claw shortage of 2019. They promote being gluten free, low calorie, tasty and refreshing at 3-5% ABV per can. Millennials cannot get enough of them. When we surveyed a group of 100 millennials, we found that 60% said they drink between two and four hard seltzers per sitting and 40% said they consumed more than four. That’s between 200 and 600 calories per person, per sitting.

Millennials want transparency from the brands they purchase. They want to know what is going in their body and how much they’re consuming. While promoting your brand, keep that idea of transparency and health consciousness in mind! Find ways to explain the health benefits of wine, or of gin or whatever you’re selling. Sell them on the calorie content, the health benefits, or even the historical medicinal background of your product. Providing insight to the background of your products’ creation is going to be your ticket to millennials.

Now let’s talk about the dreadful hangover.

There’s no question that hangovers are real. Some people get them worse than others. That awful headache the next morning we all know comes from two things:

1) Binge Drinking

2) Dehydration. 

Remind your consumers how to properly consume your product. Many cannabis products pride themselves on their small doses giving the “perfect high” at less than 10mg CBD/THC per serving. Less is more. The low ABV trend was at a high before the pandemic. And we can bring it back and encourage healthy drinking habits. Tell your consumers to have a glass of water in between cocktails. Share with them the importance of balance. 

There’s a lot of misinformation about alcohol. I cannot tell you how many times someone tells me they cannot drink red wine because of the sulfites (but they have no problem with white wine) *Insert face screaming into a pillow*. One thing that cannabis companies are doing is encouraging people to learn more about cannabis. The transparency really helps promote the product, and alcohol can do the same too.

For people who get horrible hangovers, let’s share with them about low ABV options, proper ways to consume your product, and the importance of hydration when consuming alcoholic beverages. For the health-conscious drinker, tell them the number of calories they’re consuming per serving. Do this all while also showing the fun experience that your products bring.

If you can wrap your millennial consumers’ heads around this, you’ll sell to millennials. 

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