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Craft beer production is growing in America. There are still plenty of new watermelon weisses and double-hopped IPAs to be enjoyed. But it isn't growing nearly as fast as it used to. In 2017, 165 craft breweries closed up shop, a significant leap from the previous year, according to a tally by the Brewers Association. Production is slowing.
One possible culprit is cannabis, which some experts argue could replace beer where recreational use is legal. Instead of cracking open a beer at the end of the day, people are choosing to smoke weed or eat edibles, the argument goes. It's a fight to the death between cannabis and beer, and only one vice can be victorious. But Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association, says that while cannabis is a "concern," the sales numbers don't make it a real threat. It's phones that are doing a number on craft brewing.
"We look at cannabis as another product beer consumers can choose to enjoy with their disposable incomes—just like wine, spirits—just like the iPhone," he told Beverage Daily. "We think the iPhone is a bigger threat right now, probably, to beer than cannabis. You used to go out to meet people, go out to a bar... now you just swipe right on your phone, you don't need to go anywhere. All this is just part of the evolving society."
In other words, we're all anti-social monsters who prefer the company of a glowing screen over venturing to the bar for a drink and some conversation. Actually, that checks out.
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