Last week, a Market Watch editorial took a shot at Boston Beer Co. and a PAC of Mass. distributors for working to block a bill legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. The editorial says this is a wrongheaded move because the distributors are crooked (being recently convicted of a pay-to-play scam) and Sam Adams is already losing sales and should not irk people any further. While these are facts, they’re not compelling ones or even to the point really. I don’t smoke enough pot to even qualify as an occasional smoker, but the craft beer scene has its fair share (probably more than its fair share) of pot smokers and that, more than anything else, supports the notion that while beer and pot might not be natural friends, craft beer and marijuana certainly are.

For better or for worse (I think for better) craft beer has focused on a superior taste experience and a superior variety of tastes. That is what pot smokers tend to appreciate about them. The buzz doesn’t come from the beer, which is something I’ve been talking about a long time. People don’t drink craft beer with the aim of getting annihilated, they drink it as part of a larger culinary and cultural experience. No one is sitting in their underwear, with three day’s worth of beard and Dale’s Pale Ale scattered all over their filthy living room. That is a Natural Light move.

Increasingly, craft brewers even have toned down the alcohol content in some of the new releases so that people can responsibly have two or three pints with all the flavor that used to come only with higher alcohol beers. It is about adding choice and enhancing flavor. The question that brewers have to ask themselves when considering whether or not to oppose marijuana as it becomes a more normalized form of entertainment is whether people are drinking their beer to catch a massive buzz. Probably they’re not. Legalization everywhere is good for good beer brewers everywhere. It is barely a debate. The linked editorial does point this out with numbers from recreational pot states like Colorado,Washington and Oregon.

I don’t think it is too bold a prediction to say that people who like to buy macro beers for the sole purpose of killing brain cells will spend less money on Miller Lite once they can purchase pot and get even more bang for their buck. That said, it would not be surprising if macro drinkers started enjoying the superior flavors and flavor combinations craft beer provides when they can have two or three in the evening and enjoy their buzz and beer together.

Drink what you like and be happy.

Tony Russo
Author: Tony Russo

Tony Russo has worked as a print and digital journalist for the better part of the 21st century, writing for and editing regional weeklies and dailies before joining the team that produces and among other destination websites. In addition to having documented everything from zoning changes to art movements on the Delmarva Peninsula, Tony has written two books on beer for the History Press. Eastern Shore Beer was published in 2014 and Delaware Beer in 2016. He lives in Delmar, Md. with his wife Kelly and the only of his four daughters who hasn't moved out. Together they keep their two dogs comfortable.

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