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Good Beer Hunting

Jan 25, 2020

If you’re a beer fan, the world of cannabis probably intersects with your world in the most casual of ways. You might enjoy both occasionally, or even in a single sitting. You might be attracted to IPAs that exhibit some of your favorite cannabis characteristics—“dank” and “sticky” describe both in equal measure these days. You might float back and forth effortlessly between these two categories of recreational drugs.

But if you work in the beer industry, the conversation couldn’t be more different. Professional beer marketers and pundits have been scrambling to understand the potential impact cannabis could have on the beer industry, specifically craft beer—and many worry that it threatens to steal more dollars from the same consumers. 

If you work in recreational cannabis, on the other hand, chances are you’ve learned a lot from the growth of craft beer as to how to build a customer base and establish a craft-oriented experience around your product—particularly as the cannabis market shifts its focus from medial to recreational. Cannabis is slowly becoming a brand, a lifestyle lead category. And it’s moving even faster than the most recent generation of craft brewers did to establish a new niche. 

These intersections are fascinating from both a cultural and business lens, and the GBH Studio happens to be just down the street from one of the nation’s largest cannabis organizations: Grassroots Cannabis. As the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois was underway, Grassroots entered into a potential merger with an even larger company to the tune of $875M. That’s now pending approval by the feds, which is a funny idea in and of itself—that the federal government is involved in approving the merger of two companies whose products have not even been legalized at the national level yet. But that’s exactly how wild these times are for cannabis. 

This conversation took place right at the end of the year, before recreational cannabis legalization went into effect in the state of Illinois. Some of this is a conversation about what’s to be expected, both long-term, but also, in a very real sense, the very next week. 

This is Matt Darin, founder and chief operating officer, and Andrew Zens, vice president of talent acquisition and development, at Grassroots Cannabis. Listen in.