You can’t discount the impact marijuana is currently having on states that have legalized recreational use. There’s now more research and funding looking at the impact of marijuana not only from a medicinal use, but also economic footprint that funds many city and state government initiatives. Of course, liquor industries are curious and want to make sure this doesn’t hurt sales. Will it? I don’t know, but today’s guests do. David Ozgo, Chief Economist at Distilled Spirits Council and Clay Busch, Vice President of Heavy Grass join the show to talk from their respective sides. Those advocating widespread legalization helps everyone, and those taking precautions for its hurting sales of the spirits business.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Kentucky state pride.
- What’s your connection to bourbon?
- Give us some background on your organizations.
- Do you encourage smoking weed to harness creativity?
- Is there a concern from the Distilled Spirits Council with the combination of marijuana and spirits?
- Let’s discuss consuming responsibly.
- Should brands try to align themselves with marijuana?
- Tell us about the research the government is doing on marijuana?
- How would spirit companies use marijuana in their portfolio?
- What is CBD compared to marijuana?
- Do you think marijuana has an impact on the spirits industry?
- Are people worried about marijuana impacting spirits?
- How do national companies handle marijuana use with employees that live in legal states?
- What do you think about experimentation of marijuana in spirits?
- What is your goal in regards to marijuana?
- What are your thoughts on hemp?
- Are they worried about the spirit or their pocket books?
- How can you pair marijuana with whiskey?
Well now my fire alarms going off. You hear it?
It’s all good.
Unless he’s burning. For God’s sake, Kenny. Yeah, I know.
This podcast was so hot guys, we torched the apartment.
This is Episode 206 of bourbon pursuit. I’m one of your host Kenny. And as usual, a little bit of news. We’ve announced here on the podcast of all the distilleries on Kentucky having multiple million and billion dollar expansions because the bourbon boom isn’t stopping, it’s not slowing down. And in 2016, Buffalo Trace began making their progress on its $1.2 billion infrastructure investment. This started off with four new barrel warehouses and a $50 million bottling hall that is now nearing completion. New barrel warehouses double a double will be double See, and Double D have been built and are filled with barrels that will continue to age which will eventually fill around 70 million bottles of whiskey. Now this is all located on what’s called whiskey farm, which is a 200 acre plot of land adjacent to Buffalo Trace. The fifth new warehouse double E is taking shape with constructions of number six and seven that every plan for the end of 2019. Each of these warehouses are unique because they are heat cycle during the winter months, even with its limited stock and having to wait for age do its thing. Buffalo Trace is committed to not raising prices or diluting proves to fill more barrels. Last week on the roundtable we discussed would you ever drink a marijuana infused bourbon? Well, this show takes it kind of in a whole new direction. You can’t discount the impact that marijuana is currently having on states that have legalized recreational use. There’s now more research and funding, looking the impacts of marijuana not only from a medicinal use, but also its economical impact. Of course, liquor industries are curious, and they want to make sure that this isn’t going to hurt their sales. But will it? Who knows? But I can’t be that expert. So we’re going to find out from our experts today. So we have David Ozgo, the chief economist at the distilled spirits Council and Clay Bush, Vice President of heavy grass, they joined the show to talk from their respective sides of the table. So those for its widespread use. And those look at the precautionary look at the potential impact of marijuana on the spirits business. Now with that, let’s hear from our friend Joe over a barrel bourbon. And then you’ve got Fred Minnick with the above the char.
Hi, this is Joe Beatrice from barrell bourbon. batch 16 was a project that took over a year, we selected nine to 15 year old barrels with similar profiles from different distilleries. It’s deeply concentrated, but not too oaky and finishes with a toasted orange note. Find out more at barrel bourbon.com.
I’m Fred Minnick, and this is above the char. My wife held her belly and said, Freddie, it’s time we jumped in the car. I drove 90 miles per hour to the Clark County Memorial Hospital. And nearly 24 hours later, our first son Oscar Leo was born. He was a complicated birth. And we chose this hospital because it specialized in natural birth, even though we didn’t mean to end up having a natural birth. That’s a whole other story. Why am I telling you this because I regret falling for that hospitals marketing plan, as my son does not have Kentucky on his birth certificate. Don’t get me wrong. I love Indiana, the people the food, the cities, but work and tuck ins and there’s something special about being born and raised in the state. And while I love my home state of Oklahoma, I’m a proud Oklahoma State Cowboys, Kentucky and bodies of state pride you cannot find anywhere else. It’s an every cask of bourbon horse scalping in the metals. The state is an amazing state. And when you travel outside these borders, folks look at you as if you know something, because you live in Kentucky. If you’re bred born and raised here, that’s like an extra 10 points are cool. I think there’s even a T shirt for that. But for bourbon in particular, being from Kentucky gives you more cachet. And if you’re from Bardstown especially, it’s as if you were baptized from the holy barrel of Booker and Parker beam was your Godfather, the gravitas is real. And if you ever drank with the Kentucky and bards tab, you know why it’s our Mecca, our holy place of American whiskey. And it’s important to me that my sons live and love the Kentucky pride. After all, as my wife says, they’re the sons of bourbon. And that’s this week’s above the char. Hey, do you have a cool take on Kentucky? Let me know. Love the state, as you know, I’ll retweet it or share it on Instagram. Hit me up at Fred Minnick. That’s at Fred Minnick. Until next week. Cheers.
Welcome back to bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon, Kenny and Fred here in attendance today, talking about a subject that is I don’t know it’s a little little bit hot, a little bit a little bit tipsy because it is two controlled substances and figuring out exactly where do the legalities sort of fit in? Where do one compete with one another to because this is a this is a market after all? And I don’t know Fred, do you think this is just considered the the all out sin podcast?
Well, if we had beer, yeah, we would we can be able to throw that on there. And big, big beer is not a fan of cannabis growth. And so when we look at when we look at marijuana, and American whiskey, the seem to be a lot more compliments, then competition. In a lot of cases, you know, from a lot of consumers do both. And then, you know, the distillers don’t seem to be as afraid of the introduction of marijuana legally as beer companies do, and wine and wineries. But at the same time, you know, here in Kentucky, we still have a lot of dry counties. And you know, in some in some districts, you smoke weed, you’re going to the devil so and so we see a lot of like Prohibition era mindsets when it’s applied to marijuana.
Yeah, I typically tend to agree with that. However, the one thing that we have seen within the changing laws of marijuana is that it’s it’s starting to break down barriers a lot faster than probably what she’s seen a lot of things in regards of alcohol to from California and Colorado and the whole entire nation of Canada is now recreational. So you’re starting to see these these things coming. And it’s I think it’ll be harder for entities to try to stop slowing its role because it’s a, I guess it’s a product that is probably going to eventually make its way out and marijuana in general recreational marijuana to the vast majority of United States over the next few years. And that is why we have brought in our guests today to talk about this and what could the potential impact be on bourbon? So we have got David Ozgo. David is the chief economist of the distilled spirits Council, as well as we have Clay Bush, who is the vice president of heavy grass. So Gentlemen, welcome to the show.
Thank you very much. Good. It’s good to be here.
Yeah. Thanks for having us.
Yeah, so Clay I’ll kind of go with you first. You know, this is a bourbon podcast after all. What’s your sort of tie in with with bourbon? Do you drink it? You have a few bottles as a cocktail guy what’s what’s sort of your your Avenue
and a previous in a previous life? I actually used to help produce beer bourbon festivals, which is how I met Fred. I’ve always been a traditional Tennessee whiskey jack daniels guy just growing up naturally and in college jack and coke was always my go to that’s how I was introduced to whiskey. But as I did more shows in Kentucky’s in Louisville, specifically med debt, you know, with Danny Wimmer presents and the festivals that we did there because I used to be a promoter with Danny Wimmer really got to know and educate ourselves in the bourbon. So I’m a bourbon fanatic. I had a good collection. But being in California, it’s hard to find the good stuff. So it’s going it’s running out. But a big Blanton’s fan, he is probably my go to if I if I could ever, like have a you know, one sip of one thing, Blanton would be my my go to.
What about you, David, do you have a particular bourbon that you gravitate towards? or anything like that?
Oh, gosh, that’s always a loaded question. When you’re talking to someone that works for a traders Association.
Didn’t didn’t didn’t.
Let me just say there are a lot of really wonderful products out on the market. And I enjoyed most of them.
It was it was about as generic as we can get.
You running for Senate in 2022?
No, but I’d like to keep my job in
2019. So although I can David, I imagine that your your plank would be pretty good. You would just be talking about reducing excise taxes and reducing tariffs. I mean, you’d have all kinds of people voting for you with that kind of language.
Well, we are quite popular with a good portion of the public. And we’re just hoping to bring the Congress around along as well. So yeah, we’ve had some tariff issues, but we’re hoping to get past them so that the Europeans can enjoy our fine bourbon products.
Absolutely. And I think we should also let people get a little bit more familiar with with your organizations that you belong to. So David, if you could give a little bit of color and background on what is the distilled spirits Council.
Sure, the distilled spirits council we represent most of the large, distillers, distillers and importers of distilled spirits in United States. So that means we represent the suppliers either the people when it comes to bourbon, the people that are actually making the bourbon or we also represents scotch rum, gin, vodka, all the distilled spirits. So if it happens to be an import will will represent the importer as well. And we have an organization here in Washington DC, we have a public affairs staff, we obviously have a number of government relations people. We have a science office general counsel office, and my office is the economic and strategic analysis office. So we do a lot of economic analysis. So we will represent the industry both here in Washington, DC, but then at the state level as well, where where there’s oftentimes a lot going on.
And then I don’t know if heavy grass really needs an introduction, but I want you to do it anyway.
Well, heavy grass is a we like to call ourselves more than just a cannabis company. We’re a lifestyle brand. You know, we we think we’re amplifying to everyone’s experience. I mean, cannabis has been amplifying, you know, creativity. Other experiences throughout history since been introduced to the market. So we are a rock and roll aggressive brand. We are a recreational brand, we do not take a medical stance, we’re not here to say we’re our stuffs going to help treat arthritis or influenza, it’s an anti inflammatory, we’re here to say, you know, if you want to go to a concert, smoking, a heavy grass product is going to help amplify your experience. But more than anything, we’re a community. We’re super serving the rock and roll and metal community, we’re all inclusive, even if you don’t consume our products, we want you to be a part of our events, and just be a part of everything we’re doing. So we’re constantly out especially in Los Angeles, where I’m based in the company’s based and we’re out for helping, you know, support bands predict producing events and activating other music festivals, but also, you know, being a being a an additive and amplifying experience for bands in the studio, when they need that that creativity or some way
so so you’re you’re you’re supplying bands with heavy grasses, they go into the studio, is that what you’re saying?
Yeah, sometimes you had you needed to write a really great solo. And then a lot of times instead of, you know, this is what they use as their outlet to get creative and they smoke cannabis. But another thing that we utilize cannabis for is the relaxation part where a lot of these guys are using it to go to sleep like myself. I’ve been an active cannabis user since I was 12 from Colorado, and cannabis has always been my go to to help relax and go to bed and my mind’s constantly racing our car or going to school or playing football or whatever was in Canvas was always that, you know, allowed me to kind of relax and go to bed and start my day over.
Alright, so you have you’re not a you’re not a medical cannabis. But let’s say that I’m a 65 year old heavy metal fan, and I have glaucoma. Can I enjoy your product at a concert and maybe have some side benefits of the medicine?
I’m sure I’m sure you could but we’re not going out there basically tell you that this is going to help a block home if you’re smoking cannabis in that realm we’re expecting you to go out it’s adding to your you know, I’m a big we call whiskey and weed pairing. So I constantly like pairing my whiskey with my jack and cokes and I’m going to a concert. So that adds to my experience, it creates a different euphoria for me. And that’s always been a part of my culture in the way I’ve experienced live music. So I think for a 65 year old heavy metal fans going and Ozzy Osbourne concert, he’s probably has a cannabis alternative that’s helping with his golf glaucoma. And he’s a part of our community just to hang out and enjoy the enjoy the concert with us.
So David, you heard that side of things, and you know, the spirits community, you know, it’s very, very much about drink responsibly consuming responsibly. Is there a concern from the distilled spirits Council, you know, that the the connection that combination of, of marijuana and spirits, you know, could lead to a non responsible experience?
Well, obviously, any product can be consumed responsibly, and any product can be consumed. non-response and responsibly. You know, we, you’re right, we discourage, we encourage responsible drinking. If you think you have a drinking problem, or if you think you’re going to have a few drinks and drive we are we, we discouraged that. Uber is a wonderful lifesaver for a lot of people. So you have a lot of options today, in order to keep your consumption of anything responsible.
And now Klay, let’s go back, Sammy said You said you started smoking at 12. Now, yeah, even by today’s standards, that would be pretty, pretty well illegal.
I mean, yeah, I mean, very much illegal. And even in Colorado, during that time, it was illegal. I still remember, this is not the way you’re supposed to consume and introduce yourself to a product just like when you’re drinking whiskey for the first time, you’re not going to the backyard moonshine, or, to try it for the first time to get the ultimate experience and really get the benefits benefits of what you’re looking for. I know alcohol is a slippery slope, when it comes to that the cannabis kind of falls into a different category in our eyes, you know, to David’s point, we’re about healthy consumption as well and safe consumption. You know, medical drugs have do not drive warnings on their on their bottles. You know, we have warning labels on ours, the alcohol industry costly, does great advertisements, pushing saved tapes, save consumption and driving and drinking and driving responsibly or calling Uber like you mentioned. So we’re just a little different when it comes because we pair and I know when you don’t want to pair with alcohol with traditional prescription drugs. But I think, you know, when you look at cannabis and data kind of kind of kind of shows the story where there isn’t really any data show correlating a cannabis consumer to a death in the history of the product, there’s plenty of correlations that kind of could bring other products into it, especially the prescription drug business, the fat and only and like the oxy Cotton’s and, and the different types of opiates. That’s an epidemic. And that’s really why I think cannabis is kind of coming as an alternative. Now with the way technology is caught up, people are educating themselves and saying, hey, this may have been a prohibition product for so long, because it may be a mess with so many other categories, like the paper industry in the logging industry at the time. And and now the prescription drug business. So it’s it’s an exciting time, it’s all about education, that’s what we’re all about is just educating people on our product at the same time. We’re not a medical, we’re not a medical product.
Now, to be clear, there have been according to the DEA, there’s not there’s not reported overdose deaths in marijuana, but there are deaths are linked to, you know, over use and driving. The Arkansas Department of Health just issued an advisory on cannabis, you know, so there are there are some things there are over consumption can be, you know, can be fatal. And there’s also some studies that show that marriage, you know, the use of marijuana at a certain age can you know, trigger, schizophrenia and some people I mean, David, when you see those things, and when the spirits industry hears those things, and they hear the discussion of it, there’s not as No, marijuana is not as fatal as alcohol. Is there a sense of, I don’t know, pushback from the alcohol industry to you know that because at the end of the day, a lot of these marijuana when you’re talking about marijuana, they lot of times push down on spirits.
I you I mean, let’s be clear. Obviously, impaired driving is a big concern of ours, because what tends to happen is right now we have a breathalyzer out there with a breathalyzer technology has been around for I don’t know, 5060 years now. In fact, it was the distilled spirits Council and some of its predecessors, they actually invested the money that developed the original breathalyzer, what tends to happen now is if you have if you’re, if someone is pulled over with a suspicion of DUI, you can do the breathalyzer fairly quickly, if they test positive for alcohol, all automatically becomes an alcohol impairment, you know, because they simply don’t have the ability to test for anything else. We think that’s an important issue from a public policy standpoint, not just from the fact that we don’t want to take all the blame for impaired driving, if it’s not our products that are causing the real impairment, but we just think from a public policy standpoint, you need to know what people are doing. You need to know, in order to because so much of trying to reduce abuse of drinking or your abuse of consumption of anything, is to know what people are doing, and then you can properly educate them. So from that standpoint, we we need to we need to know what’s causing impairment. And I, everyone I’ve talked to that’s in the marijuana industry now is really on board with that notion. And, you know, they’re advocating for research that could develop the for lack of better term marijuana breathalyzer.
Let’s go to some mail set Klay brought up because he said he was a big proponent of pairing marijuana with whiskey as a as an enjoyment. Where did I slit Yeah, yeah, like Ferris. So hey, so good at my coconut
got my chocolate got
my memory marijuana?
Maybe it’s a coconut milk? Wanna? Or maybe it’s a coconut chocolate cannabis cookie? No,
it’d be that’s it. That’s an aggressive cookie.
So where does the distilled spirits council stand on the pairing of spirits and marijuana?
Well, right now, we haven’t taken a position really. But in general, we would discourage you, particularly if you’re going to be driving from using both products. You know, ultimately, let’s
say you’re, let’s just say you’re in your apartment all by yourself, you got a little something here, and you got a little something there. And they want a pair, both of them Does, does the distilled spirits Council have a position on that?
We don’t have an official position on that, you know, we in general, discourage the use of both of them, if you think you’re you’re going to be driving at all, a lot of this is an matter of personal preference. You know, ultimately, you, you have to know what your limits are. You have to know how you can consume any product responsibly.
David, I got another kind of question for you, too, because Clay brought up a good point. And you know, he he’s the proponent of the whiskey and spirits pairing. However, you don’t see anything out there on the spirit side of the house that are saying like, Oh, yeah, like, we are going to embrace a lot of things that’s happening inside of the cannabis world. You don’t see, I’m not even to put a name out there of saying they’re doing this. But should there ever be? Or is there? Is it just bad juju all around to actually have a brand say we’re going to try to align themselves with, with marijuana?
Well, we’re still doing a lot of research. I mean, obviously, this is a relatively new field, the federal government is finally starting to do more research into impairment levels. We’re going to wait until the sciences in before we really been any kind of recommendation on that.
And it’s important to note that every everybody reacts to these things differently. You know, the most of the studies that most of the studies that are out there, you know, basically have that kind of caveat is that not everyone responds to weed and, and booze the same way. And I kind of want to have a kind of, I want to know, you’d mentioned you guys are studying this What? What are you all looking at? From a as it as a trade organization?
Well, we’re we’re not the ones doing the actual research. It’s really the federal government that’s, that’s doing the research. So, you know, ultimately, what we hope to find out is, you know, just what the various level impairments are, what level of consumption is safe, what level of is not safe, those sorts of things that, you know, you’re you ultimately want to look at.
And I’ll say this to constellation brands, which, you know, is a multi billion dollar company, it has interest in wine has interest in beer. And it’s been making a heavy play into the American whiskey scene with the purchase of high West investments in Nelson the Greenbrier and Bardstown bourbon company, among others, they have bought stakes and marijuana companies. So that kind of tells you that the writing’s on the wall, that these spirits brands support this now. So let’s talk about how this is going to look when they get when this becomes federally legal. If it becomes federally legal. Well, how will the spirits companies use marijuana in their portfolio? David, I’ll give you the first crack at that in terms of what you might think,
oh, gosh, well, you know, we don’t make the bond decisions the purchasing the investment decisions for our member companies. So that’s, that’s really a question that you would want to address to them. You know,
certainly Ronnie I
asked several of them to come on, but none of them would come on, they all said you so wonderful. So they said you talk to you
you know, right now from what we seen, however, with regard you know, any company is always going to look for new products to sell and if a company believes that you know, a cannabis based product will fit into their portfolio whatever it might be. You know, that’s that’s ultimately up to them. We obviously because we are the distilled spirits council we concentrate on distilled spirits so yeah, very much aware of that the that constellation is made a rather large investment I think it was $4 billion and they’re they’re looking to develop that that side of their business
Klay What do you think what is what does
what does a spirits and marijuana product look like? As we see these investments coming in from larger companies?
I think it’s not even about the current spirits in the current portfolio. I think they’re looking at a category and being first the party before a lot of their competitors are and saying, Hey, you know, we all kind of fall in the same category, which in the wreck category, which is social, you know, social gatherings use for social purposes, at times, you know, or sitting at home to relax in the wine industry is very similar to how cannabis, some of the cannabis companies are operating not a heavy grass, per se, we I think we operate more like a whiskey company would. But I think constellation going and looking at it as they were going to go in and be first the party where they can own a category and leverage what they already know. I mean, these companies have no massive distribution, they know how to market brands, they know how to deal with content, clients issues, and we’re worried about legalities. So I think they’re just getting prepared for all 50 states to open up and then it can be really game on for these brands. I think with CBD and the Farm Bill passing and all these things that are just happening now recently with legislation I think you’re going to see not a lot of infusion products and spirits industry because they haven’t I don’t think they’re going to allow that to be legal yet with I think there needs to be more research done.
Asians You mean like a cannabis flavored whiskey you know think that’ll have
CBD infused whiskey. You know, there’s ways to do it still I mean, there’s books out there teaches you how to infuse your whiskey with cannabis or any any spirit or beverage I but I think it’s not going to be necessarily that coming first, I think they’re going to introduce a new product through the through the umbrella somehow, which could be different than you know, another constellation wine product
if they allow you so you think the play is not necessarily to combine the two but to have a stake in the category as they would anything else.
I think these companies know distribution better than anybody and big business like that, especially the tobacco business as well. They’re going to come in and put real infrastructure on a mass scale once all 50 states open up and ultra just invested on the opposite end on the tobacco side not to jump around it’s a different conversation. They’re doing the same thing in Canada as well getting prepared we’re it’s a very unique time to see those two companies go up there and throwing down billions of dollars into the category
Clay there’s another kind of thing I want you to really touch on just a little bit because we are really an education program and I’m sure there’s a lot of people that are going across you
know we were on PBS and all these other
iTunes the new home of PBS the but there’s no I walk around downtown. It can be in Kentucky you could be in states that aren’t legal yet you see signs it says like a we now carry CBD oils. people an idea of like, what does it stand for? And really, what is that? What is that product versus the traditional? You know what people really think what marijuana is
a difference is is basically the psychoactive CBD has zero psychoactive properties. So it can be used strictly for the health benefits side of cannabis than the product and the cannabis. So you know, there’s different cannabinoids that go into the plants and different plants out there that do different things and provide different relief so the CBD can be extracted and it’s not necessarily a smoker but I mean you have CBD vape pens out there for people that want to consume it that way. But a lot of its going into topical creams you know more health and wellness side A CBD pill for example can help you stay focused and help with anti anxiety at the same time so but without you feeling like you’re quote unquote stoned right? The THC side which is still federally illegal is the psychoactive side and that’s the stuff that makes you feel high. So I guess that’s the best way easiest way I can determine you know, help your audience you know signify the split between the two this THC which is still federally legal. My company have you grass is a THC driven company so we we go on feeling the effects of using cannabis. CBD is the other side where it can help with the anti inflammatory it’s used for more of the health and wellness side and the prescription benefits
and so you know, your uh, your your your spirits, drinker as well, kind of talk about what you think that your business has had on you. And if you think it actually has an impact on the spirits industry as well. I mean, when people have a choice, they’re gonna go to the store and they’re going to see two things on the shelf. Or they’re going to choose one of the other Do you think there’s still room for both of these that it’s really not going to inhibit any sort of growth?
I mean, me personally, I don’t think it really inhibits I know that for some people, they’ll use cannabis and only consume cannabis that night drink, but those people are trying not to drink. So those people already understand and, and the big thing is understanding educate ourselves on consumption, which we’ve talked about a lot. David brought it up. You know, some people know they can’t drink whiskey, so they drink clear liquor. And some people can’t drink liquor at all. Some people can’t drink beer. So I mean, I think it’s understanding how to how to use it. Some people can’t smoke weed and drink whiskey. I think I’m I think I just under over over time and learn how to pair it properly without me getting completely blown out of my mind. But it goes back
to education. It’s your Viking jeans.
Nobody goes back to education and understanding Hey, if you know and I had to learn the hard way, I’m not gonna lie just like I had to learn the hard way. And when I first drink tequila for the first time, I drank too much and I threw up. You know, I smoked too much. And I passed out while I was drinking whiskey. So I think it goes back to healthy consumption. If you’re going to smoke and pair you’re definitely not driving. And we’re not trying to advocate for that either. But we also create a strain of weed that pairs well with whiskey or blackjack straight. Which for your audience that doesn’t know what cannabis looks like. This is what cannabis looks like. Is it pairs well with bourbon and whiskey because it’s a spicier flavor when you consume it and out pairs, well, the openness of the barrels. So So we’ve pulled a strain out specifically because we understand that our cannabis community is already a member of the whisk community, and they’re going to engage with both. So to answer your question, I think it’s going to be case by case I think sometimes they’re going they’re just going to want to grab a bottle Blanton’s or they’re going to go in and say, Hey, I’m hanging out with my boys. I’m going to roll a joint. I’m going to get an eighth of heavy grass. I’m gonna get a bottle of, I don’t know, patties and let’s let’s go let’s go have a good time with my boys tonight and play some cards.
All right, David, what are the numbers say? Because I know that you’re you’re in the spreadsheets in the database. And so what what does that look like? Hey, it’s Kenny here and I want to tell you about the Commonwealth premiere bourbon tasting and awards festival. It will be happening on August 24th. In Frankfort, Kentucky. It’s called bourbon on the banks. You get to enjoy bourbon beer and wine from regional and national distilleries while you struggle with things along the scenic Kentucky River. There’s also going to be food vendors from regional award winning chefs. Plus you get to meet the master distillers and brand ambassadors you’ve heard on the show, but the kicker is bourbon pursuit. We’re going to be there in our very own booth as well. Your $65 ticket includes everything all food and beverage on Saturday. Plus, you can come on Friday for the free Bourbon Street on Broadway event. Don’t wait go and buy your tickets now at bourbon on the banks.org and through June 30. You can get your discounted ticket offer two tickets for the low price of $110. When using the code be BOB 2019 during checkout at bourbon on the banks.org
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Yeah, well, it’s a sad commentary on my life, I think, but
you know, we obviously, we have followed those with great interest for a number of years now. And we’ve looked at the three states that have the longest history of recreational legalization, namely, Oregon, Washington State, and of course, Colorado. And in all three of those states, we see no impact on our product. In fact, we took a look at the only way you could really determine what’s happening to spirits, beer or wine volumes, for that matter, is to look at the excise tax collections, because that’s really the only source of data that’s going to include the entire market. And when we’ve done that, we see that well gee, distilled spirits consumption on a per capita basis since the legalization of recreational marijuana in those three states is up a little bit. And then when we you know, we’ve been gaining market share from beer for God, nine out of nine, the last nine years and probably I don’t know 15 out of last 16 or 17. When we look at total beverage, alcohol consumption in those states, we see that on a per capita basis, it’s either roughly flat or up slightly. So there’s really just no evidence industries, three states that marijuana legalization has has had an impact on us whatsoever.
Okay, well, I guess we can just end the podcast now. And we got our answers.
But to that point, I like to blame it. The I know, the craft beer industry is one of those categories on a national scale. And David, you know a lot more about this than I do. If that numbers falling. I can blame craft beers because they’re cannibalizing themselves. You know, there’s too many options out there. There’s no brand loyalty. And when you have that it’s the Wild West. And it’s segmented. And that’s just my opinion. But you can probably talk better to that.
Yeah, well, you know, I mean, obviously, I’ve counterparts that do the same thing that I do for the craft beer industry, as well as for regular beer. And they say the same thing that Yeah, beer is down. But when we look at the states that have legalized marijuana, we don’t see results that only different from states that don’t have legalized recreational marijuana. So as a result, they they don’t tend to really be so conservative. They haven’t seen any impact from the legalization of marijuana, they the results are always the same, regardless of whether or not it’s legalized or not. So I know that a lot of people claim that marijuana is supposed to have this massive impact on beverage alcohol, who knows maybe one day it will but you know, again, when you look at the states with the longest history, it is not and, you know, particular with Colorado. Wow, when you look at the Could you imagine a product becoming more socially acceptable than marijuana in Colorado right now? You know, it’s no one has a problem with you using marijuana in Colorado. So, you know, I think we’re getting some wonderful data from Colorado right now, just because it’s in my mind, it’s it’s almost a fully developed marijuana market. When you look at the the rate of growth and whatnot in retail sales, it’s, it’s declined, or it’s not that the rate of growth is slowing fairly dramatically, which is more or less to sign up a developed market. And, you know, pretty clearly it’s not had any impact on beverage alcohol sales.
David, kind of another question about that, you know, you had talked about claims and what people say, what are some of those claims that maybe people were worried about that they want you to lobby against to say that marijuana could impact their their their distilled spirits? sales?
Yeah, well, first off, there has never been an effort, at least on the part of the distilled spirits council to try to hinder in any way shape or form. In marijuana legalization, we typically don’t take a position on it. You know, we we do have several recommendations, which the marijuana industry agrees with the you know, we want fair taxation, we’d like to make certain that there are, you know, we have an advertising code, we advocate for sensible advertising code, and, you know, we advocate for, you know, keeping it out of the hands of, of younger people, just really sensible regulations that be honest with you. From what I seen, most of the people advocating for legalized marijuana agree with So, you know, from that standpoint, we’ve never there’s never been? I know, I’ve I’ve heard rumors about big alcohol, trying to stop marijuana. Well, I guess you can consider me part of big alcohol and we’ve never had any such effort.
And I haven’t heard that either to counter that. I haven’t heard about big alcohol or really the spirits industry trying to handcuff our growth. It’s really been the prescription drug industry, handcuffing US and other categories. Outside of I’ve heard rumors, a certain craft beers and certain big beer business. But it’s really, I haven’t heard much of it. I’ve heard it all. On the other side on the prescription drug side?
Well, there’s been there were
I can’t remember the exact story, but it was when Bernie Sanders was running. And there the there were some distribution companies that were that their emails became public or something like that. And that’s, that’s really where the big alcohol against marijuana came in. You know,
David, you remember that? You know,
I do know that the distributors, from time to time have voiced their opinion that, you know, you have a three tier system for beverage alcohol wouldn’t be great to have a three tier system for marijuana as well. I think that might be really what you’re getting at. And, you know, it’s it’s the only natural that’s, you know, they would want a piece of the business.
And I’m trying to find it here. And this was not something that I had added top heavy.
Well, while you look for that, I’ll throw another question to David, because there’s a question that came up in the chat. You know, you talked about Colorado and how it’s been sort of sweeping, and it’s just part of the culture, and it hasn’t really had a whole lot of impact on the economics of spirits themselves. There was a question that says, but if you if you work for a national company, it could actually prohibit them from utilizing drugs within sir sorry, marijuana with inside of their state because it’s against the corporate drug policy. So
I have no idea really what the the demographics are of big companies that are based in Colorado, if there’s the workforce works for national companies that wouldn’t allow that. So how accurate Do you think that that data really is? Real quickly, it was a part of the WikiLeaks dump. And there was evidence in there that they were trying to undermine marijuana legalization, and it was largely connected to Bernie Sanders his belief in ending prohibition on marijuana. So yeah, so that is accurate. It was and it was the people linked to it was the wine and spirits wholesalers of America. So go ahead.
Well, what was the question again,
about the data accuracy of Colorado Raza residents? You know,
if if you’re a corporation, and particularly if you’re operating heavy equipment, or something of that sort, you know, you have the right to protect yourself. I mean, you’re out there, you have potential huge liability. You know, Is it right for them to have a zero tolerance policy? Well, you know, that’s, that’s a difficult question. You know, if if they are going to be working, if you’re going, you’re working for a company, and there’s the potential that, you know, you could potentially do some sort of physical harm. You know,
that that’s every corporations worst nightmare?
No, absolutely. And there’s another question that came in the chat. And this one is, is more more directed at Klay? Here? And there was it was talking about kind of like experimentation and figuring how are you mixing or infusing and he said that there is a blueberry weed infused vodka that’s out there. He’s got one that’s a nightcap that has a relaxing CBD oil, and is brandy. Do you sort of see this as as the future of what people can experiment with kind of using their own oils and their own stuff?
I don’t know legally, where you could sell that. I mean, it sounds like that’s a black market product. I mean, that’s kind of our problem right now is we deal with black market where legally you can’t buy that market and in store because you can infuse a little liquor, liquor and alcohol have to be in a separate wall with cannabis, we’re not allowed to coexist together still. So people are going to do that there’s that you can google it right now and teach yourself how to make it. You know, you’re going to find products out there that are going to hit the market and their stores are going to sell them. You know, we I live in Venice Beach. And there’s a ton of black market products out here that are just normally sold down the street that are in regular stores, just because it’s the part of the culture here. So I think it’s until we get a real full legislative kind of structure around it just like the ABC laws and all that you’re going to have the Wild West with us for the moment until more states open up and the government kind of create some structure with us.
What is that? What is that goal? To sit there and try to move this across more state lines for your business or for the industry in general
goals, education, and then in the stigma. The problem is you have stoner stigma and the teachings young moments and all that stuff, which is which is a part of it. You know,
they said reefer madness, reefer madness. That’s what I remember. It’s
funny because our company we take reframe reefer madness, and we use that as our advertising campaign. So we’ve kind of flipped it where Yeah, it’s good. It’s bad, dangerous, stay away. It’s cannabis, it’s going to ruin your life like, no, it’s it’s education and understanding the the incredible benefits of the plan depending on who the user is. And if he’s properly educated can find it so you can find something that may and our battles never been with the spirits and beer industry. At least on my side, our battles 100% been on the prescription drug side. So, you know, for us, it’s just ending the ending the stigma, where I can call my homies at any of these whiskey companies and saying, hey, let’s do an incredible collab together. Let’s bring in some artists, let’s do some art. Let’s Fred, you know, I’ll bring some Fred. Fred comes in, he does a whiskey tasting and, and I can bring a cannabis expert, and we do a canvas tasting and collide them. That’s the ultimate goal is where these worlds can come collide for me. Because Because the whiskey culture, especially in my world, the whiskey culture, and the cannabis culture kind of coexist together at all times, just like beer. And I think there’s ways of us helping each other grow through education. But our big problem is stigma. And people thinking that this is you know, the old This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs, commercial. Any questions? Well, I Fred’s point, smoked weed. 12, for the first time did not become a stoner went to college, played college football have been on my own since I was 18. And it’s funny, I’m from Colorado, so I’m a little different. So move from Colorado to California. So I’m a little bit fortunate in that. And and, and so it’s never fully affected me, it’s only helped me control things without me taking a pill.
Yeah, I will say, I was just at a conference in Washington, two weeks ago, where at least the short term political goal for the marijuana industry seems to be to get expensive, be able to deduct this expenses. You know, that’s, that’s a big concern right now. Also, they said, they would really like to get off of marijuana off of schedule one. So that you can make it easy to do research and then it also financially, they can start using the banking system. So they do have a number of short term political goals.
But it goes back to education. And then before before these politicians that are kind of driving the ship here, they’ve got to be educated on the benefits or the we’ve got to create change. And that’s that’s where our big Hancock has always been with prescription drug lobbyists. And then that and before then the paper industry and the logging industry because with have been legal, you’re going to see a big change in that world very quickly.
What do you mean by the way, there’s with me in legal how, what what sort of big changes do you think?
Well, hemp is a very, very strong structure, very similar to what you would get with wood and paper. But it grows from faster, it’s it’s cheaper to make it’s it’s, it’s, it doesn’t take up the same amount of land. It there’s a lot of different usages for it as well. So there’s, it doesn’t make stronger rope can make your paper can it can kind of replace other things that have been big industries in this country for a while that aren’t necessarily great for the environment at the same time have provides an alternative that
and by the way, there are hemp Bourbons that will be hitting the market soon and be rolling has took the hemp seed and added to a mash bill. And they are resting in their warehouses right now.
But the big thing you got to understand is what I was talking about infusion hemp and cannabis are not the same thing. They’re been declassified. They’re separate. That’s where the Farm Bill allowed the hemp to come in. David, I think you’re about to say something.
No, I was just gonna say the hemp does not have the THC in it. Yeah, there’s no psychoactive properties. So
it’s not it’s not necessarily CBD either. So it’s coming from that cannabis plant. So it’s, it’s just a different, it’s just different. It’s it and that’s where they separated allowed it to be used in all 50 states now.
So for it, you know, I kinda want to get your take on this, you know, we’ve got we’ve got David’s take that it’s not going to have any sort of effects and in the broader market, I know that you are well connected to other distilleries and people that have, you know, that their financial stake is in is in their their spirits? Have you have you talked to any of them not without naming names or anything like that, where where they could potentially see that this is a future risk for their, their products.
Yes, I know, one in particular, who is not a distilled spirits council member who is adamantly opposed to only legalization of marijuana based solely on the fact of what he believes it will do to spirits. And this is a this is a, you know, a company that will put up a big fight, when that when the time comes, and we’ll do everything it can to block people from infusing marijuana and alcohol, you know, because this is a, I would say, a very conservative thinking company that still still looks at the 1930s, you know, saying like, you know, they still try to be they try to do things that that would, you know, that could fly even under in the blue states, you know, so they’re overly conservative and fear that, you know, there may be regulation put upon them. And, and the fact is, is kind of a lot of what David said, there’s still still more studies to be done and everything I hear Klay advocating for are things that he would not necessarily I don’t I don’t think anybody what once once the marijuana is in someone’s head, and once the spirit of someone’s hand, you know, that then becomes an individual responsibility. I think what you’re going to see the spirits community do is I think you will see a rift between the combination of those two things in a bottle, and that is that the marijuana and fleet fused bourbon, the marijuana flavored vodkas and stuff, I think that’s where you will see more of the fight go on within the spirits industry.
And and I guess the question for you is, is it really a question of the spirit in general and the category classification, or is it a pocket book? Because as as Joe goes to the store to figure out what he wants to do this Friday night, if you got a bottle of bourbon or you got it out, or an eighth of we what’s what’s what’s the choice? Is that what they’re really worried about?
I that’s a good question, David, go ahead. You know,
I will say oftentimes, when you look at survey data, indicates that you know, yes, these cannabis and alcohol are very much substitutes. However, when we’ve done focus groups, and you ask people who are marijuana users about their use of alcohol, oftentimes they’re confused by the question because I say well, you know, cannabis marijuana’s marijuana and alcohol is alcohol and we use them on different occasions Now obviously, there’s always going to be some overlap you know, without a doubt, but I think perhaps the instances of overlap and therefore the substitute ability are a little bit overblown and you know, they’re just not what people actually thought that they were
so he said occasion so like a three year olds birthday party is that now the
ripping Jays where you should be using either one of them but yeah
he’s like I don’t know about that
blows my mind because this is the category it’s the data is out there this is this is good gonna be federally legal at some point, like more of the majority of the states in the union right now or at least in a medicinal state right now. This is going to happen if I was an alcohol company just like constellations doing I’d be learning everything I would about it so I can be be the go to of these cannabis consumers. You know, if there was a brand out there that said, Hey, Perrier whiskey with us and it competed with my my go to, I would give it a serious consideration because they’re, they’re connecting with me on a personal level now. And to me, that’s how you can connect to a consumer.
Yeah, absolutely. With that, I think we’ll we’ll start wrapping up and Fred, unless you had any other questions that you kind of want to
tell her I wanna I wanted, I want to delve into this pairing a little bit more, because I think for a lot of people who regularly pair their stakes with bourbon, they’re having a hard time figuring out how the hell do you pair smoking some pairing smoking weed, with? With whiskey? Because these are you smoke a cigar? Well, that’s you said a cigar has flavor on the cigar has a flavor on the leaf. Are you suggesting that you guys have flavor on on that
the plant is a flavor. So every you know, we all have unique flavors, you have the strains, right? So the big thing in cannabis right now is we’re trying to get away from the whole, if you don’t know it into coast TV, I mean, you know, into cause more of the relaxation kind of put you to sleep strain. And this is more of an upbeat, creative, keep up thought process control. And then you have these hybrid strangers or more body highs and they can, you know, lean one way or the other. But there’s flavor profiles in these cannabis strains. So there’s, you know, there’s just like when you taste bourbon Fred, you get tense of cinnamon or chocolates or something like that, you know, will get fruity flavors will get taste of orange and citrus and lemons and, and blueberries. And because the process of the cloning of these things now is there’s flavoring starting to go on organically through other things, especially if you go to the extraction market. And we’re pulling flavors out of the plant that organically in the plant that make it taste like juicy fruit. Now I know that’s a problem with, you know, attaching yourself to a younger audience. But from me being a gum consumer, the only flavor I can consider it it’s a tropical fruit flavor. But those are all natural flavors being pulled out through science. So yeah, there is ways of pairing so one of the reasons we chose our blackjack strain for heavy grasses, one of our first strains is that it has a spicier taste to it, which like I mentioned earlier, goes really well with with a bourbon on the you know, a bourbon neat, and that was the whole way of I could have a conversation with that. There’s all their ways of flavor Rolling Papers all day. Full of pesticides too. If you really go through it I mean backwoods gets hit for pesticide problems. In the Rolling Papers. You know, Cannabis, the wonderful thing about cannabis is we’re the most controlled industry from from from an agricultural standpoint. So there’s so many rounds of testing going in and making sure it’s clean. From the moment it leaves are the wherever it’s been growing at to the moment consumers hand.
So there’s not a barrel broker market for weed at this point is I trying to say there’s there’s
everyone’s looking for the right strains. I mean, this is another obviously a, someone should write a book on this and there might be one out, but there’s these legacy strains, legacy seeds that people are always looking for. And every strain of cannabis that’s out right now kind of derived from 30. I think it’s 13 or 14 original plants. So if you can find one of those plants is called Durbin, Durban poison. I think it’s what it’s called. But, you know, everyone’s on the hunt for those because those are like legacy strains. So that’s our Pappy, I guess.
Interesting. So Fred, you know, what this means is that you’ve just got more research to do to figure out if you can start doing these pairings. And you gotta be, you gotta be ahead of it. So when Kentucky gets the green light, you’re the first one to capitalize on it.
Yeah, I knew you’d say that.
It’s all it’s all research and development. Yeah. But yeah, with that, gentlemen, I want to say thank you, again, for joining the show today. This was a fun conversation, because like I said, we’re hitting on all the sins today. And and being able to figure out what what the impact of really what this means, especially to the bourbon consumers out there. And I think not even that maybe the consumers, maybe it’s the audience that are the distributors and the distillers out there, and they can start taking this is a fresh nugget of information on how do they either adapt to the business, or do they capitalize on the business one of the other. So with that Clay I want you to give an opportunity just to let people know where they can find you either on social media or how to get in contact with you or anything like that.
Yeah, I mean, heavy grass, we’re on Instagram, I think the best thing to do is go to our website, the heavy grass calm. That is our official website, you must be 21 and up to enter. So please make sure you’re only 21 up I just liked I think the people listens. podcasts are required. But you can go there and find everything you can about get heavy grass, our lifestyle is a different websites get heavy.com that’s where you can really get into the music and everything else we have going on. And then personally, you can always follow me on Instagram. That’s where I’m most active at Clay Busch spelled like the beer, not the president. And, and that’s how you can keep up with everything. I’m pretty active for everything we do. On my social. So where can is your is your product available in California, Colorado? Where is it available? Right now we’re only in Los Angeles for a California Southern California, we’re going to be here, you if you really want to get to know us, you got to come out to us. And you can come to one of our stores in Los Angeles, if you come out to take you to a show is fantastic whiskey bar called seven grand down here. We do our own pairings, and we have a good time.
Fantastic. We’ll put that on the TripAdvisor reviews.
And David, go ahead if there’s any way that people either want to get in contact with you or just learn more about the distilled spirits Council.
Sure you can find us at our website. It’s the distilled spirits council.org. And there’s information on there as to how to contact us and you know, just send a email to our public affairs department. And they’ll be happy to get in touch with me.
Thank you everybody for joining in that we had a few people here on the chat giving some some information. We had some people that were joining us for the live. That’s one of the great aspects of joining our Patreon communities that you can get early access to all these podcasts and everything else that we’re doing before them. But make sure you also following us on social at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at bourbon pursuit as well as also follow Fred Minnick on all those channels. And I’ll let Fred plug everything because his list is never ending about everything that he’s doing.
He’s the busiest man I’ve ever met, by the way.
I don’t know about that. Listen, I’ve worked with these festival promoters and they I don’t know how they sleep because they always are putting out fires. So I would not compare what I do least bit to anybody who promotes some music festival. But you can find me on amazon prime. My show is bourbon up. I’ve got a YouTube series now called the curation desk, goes to subscribe to my magazine bourbon plus, find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Just search my name. Fred Minnick.
Awesome. And what that will see everybody next week.