Roll Out the Barrel, Or Roll Up a Joint?

Financial house says cannabis threatens alcohol's 20+ year bull market; grape grower sues pot farmer in Oregon, and vodka gets an infusion.
Close up of cannabis plant, back-lit by morning sun

NEW YORKThe good times for alcohol may be coming to an end, according to a report from Cowen and Company, the financial services firm.

 “We believe alcohol could be under pressure for the next decade, based on our data analysis covering 80 years of alcohol and 35 years of cannabis incidence in the U.S. Since 1980, we have seen three distinct substitution cycles between alcohol and cannabis; we are entering another cycle,” according to the report, written by Vivien Azer’s team of analysts.

The three legal adult-use states generated $3 billion in gross sales of cannabis last year, Azer’s team said. They note alcohol trends have been decidedly soft over the last two years, with a notable deceleration in personal consumption expenditures growth in both the on-and off-premise, as well as a notable deceleration across each of beer, wine and spirits in Nielsen (and National Alcohol Beverage Control Association for spirits).

One result of their analysis is they downgraded Molson Coors Brewing (TAP), but maintained their outperform rating on Constellation Brands (STZ). They also put Kush Bottles (KSHB), a penny stock, Turning Point Brands (TPB) on the New York Stock Exchange and Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED) on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Only in Oregon! Vineyard Sues Pot Grower

MCMINNVILLE, ORThe owners of a vineyard in Oregon’s Yamhill County wine country have asked a judge to ban their neighbor from growing marijuana out of fear that the smell will waft over to their land and taint their prized grapes, the Oregonian reports.

The Momtazi family, which runs the Maysara Winery & Momtazi Vineyard, has already lost one grape-buying customer who canceled an order because of the planned marijuana operation, according to a lawsuit filed in Yamhill County Circuit Court.

The Momtazis have grown grapes for 18 years and own about 580 acres, according to the newspaper’s website, OregonLive.

Richard Wagner, with the financial backing of his parents, plans to plant up to an acre of marijuana on nearly seven acres that they bought for $682,000, according to the suit.

“The odor is similar to that of skunk and is not acceptable in wine,” Moe Momtazi told the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners. “The impact on Momtazi Vineyard … would certainly put the vines and wine at great risk.”

Cannabis-Infused Vodka

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CAHumboldt Distillery, producer of organic vodka and rums, recently introduced Humboldt’s Finest, a cannabis-infused vodka. The spirit is now available throughout California and at select retailers in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin.

But don’t get too excited. It’s infused with legal, food-grade hemp, so there is no detectable THC (the main psychoactive part of cannabis). No high here. “But Abe Stevens, founder of the boutique distillery, says the vodka “does retain an herbal and aromatic quality reminiscent of fresh cannabis that gives it an almost gin-like character.”

Published on April 24, 2017
Topics: Latest News
About the Author
Leslie Gevirtz
Contributing Editor, Business

An award-winning journalist, Gevirtz spent more than 20 years covering disasters—natural, political, and financial—before becoming Reuters’ wine correspondent; a beat that guaranteed her colleagues were always glad to see her.




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