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Some Think Legal Cannabis Might Be Dragging Down Craft Beer Sales

After years of double-digit growth, Oregon’s craft beer sales are slowing. Some think legal cannabis might be playing a role.

Deschutes Brewery CEO Michael LaLonde tells The Bend Bulletin that legalized cannabis has affected sales. “It’s so potent today. Someone might go and have a beer and do some edibles, and the combination of those two things means they don’t consume as much alcohol,” he said.

But Elan Walsky, the co-owner of Coalition Brewing, isn’t so sure. He thinks cannabis presents a unique opportunity. He says his fastest-growing product is the brewery's Two Flowers India Pale Ale. It uses CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. “And you know the two industries really share a lot of the same hallmarks," he said. 

"They both share a focus on quality and locality. They’re both regulated in the same way and of course hops and hemp are very closely related genetically.”

The slowing craft beer market has also been attributed to limited shelf space at stores, and a customer move from large bottles to smaller containers.

<p>A cannabis bud rests on a container at Amazon Organics, a pot dispensary in Eugene, Ore.</p>

Ryan Kang

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A cannabis bud rests on a container at Amazon Organics, a pot dispensary in Eugene, Ore.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.