Meanwhile at Forbes…


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Regarding #2, I think it depends on… disadvantage compared to what? Lots of independent beer companies are doing well, but I wouldn’t call Budweiser, Coors, and so on “disadvantaged.” I think in a best case scenario for the pot-smoker, it will still be dominated by PMUSA, Reynolds, Lorillard, and the like. They may even use the standard cigarette brand names.

    Not that this is a reason not to do it, but it’s still likely to happen, even in a more deregulated market. Which we probably won’t have, as I would imagine that the government would want to keep tabs on production quality (precisely what chemicals are going into these things) as they do with cigarettes. And, despite my general preference for less regulation over more, I can’t say that I blame them. There might be a compromise possible, allowing small producers more latitude while keeping a closer eye on companies that sell larger amounts.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Will Truman says:

      I think you’re correct that it’s doubtful we will get the proper set of regulations, and those we do get may very well benefit the big producers over the little guys. But I think with something that can be grown as easily as marijuana, it would be a real threat to major corporations. It would be much harder for them to dominate the market the way beer companies have (notably, those beer companies probably wouldn’t have done that absent prohibition and post-prohibition regulations, at least not to that extent).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        I suspect that even absent prohibition, you would have seen a handful of companies at the top, dominating the market. Supply chains, distribution chains, and advertising. It might be a different set of companies, and better beer, but I do think it would have happened.

        Advertising. That’s the thing missing here. To give the small companies a real leg up, you would have to curb advertising in a really big way. This is one of those regulations that can help the little guy, at least somewhat. I say that because the government’s actions on tobacco has made a different. There’s been a lot more fluctuation in the market with new brands popping up and becoming very popular and existing brands (like Winston) becoming an afterthought or (like Doral) nearly non-existent.

        Now, with tobacco, it’s largely been a shifting of in-house successes. Doral (which has collapsed) and Natural American Spirit (which has exploded) are both owned by Reynolds (or a subsidiary thereof). However, in a more deregulated market with (from what I understand) an easier crop to grow than tobacco, it’s not hard to imagine that a reliance on word-of-mouth would favor Local Brand over National Brand if the latter is not allowed to reach out to consumers with a big push.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

          In Colorado Springs, the little local businesses are the only game in town. If you need a quarter ounce for your glaucoma, you know to go to one of the dozens and dozens of places that advertise in the back of The Independent. Odds are, you go to the place that you have marked down as your official “caretaker” because of the X% discount caretakees get.

          The guy behind the counter knows your name and knows what you tend to get and he’ll make small talk and point out new products for you.

          The *ONLY* way that RJR Reynolds can top that is through predatory pricing.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

            And advertising!

            And, I would add, large R&D labs to improve flavor and dependency. The pot that is available now is not (all of) the pot that would be available under a legalization regime. The pot that is available now is just the pot that is available now. Some people will naturally prefer it, but a lot of time and money will likely go into finding something that people will prefer more, assuming there’s a good profit in it.Report

  2. Avatar BSK says:

    RE: Beer

    I’m not sure how much the phenomenon you are seeing in bars is related to home brewing. I think the more likely “culprit” is what I like to call the ‘craft beer bubble’. My hunch is that home-brewing is more likely a symptom of this than an underlying cause.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to BSK says:

      No, it’s pretty well documented that the craft beers began shortly after decriminalization of home-brewing. I mean there are many factors, but this is certainly a large part of it.Report

  3. Avatar Sam MacDonald says:

    I will have to yet again make the case for piss yellow beer.

    Hanging out with your friends at a bar is supposed to be about… hanging out with your friends at a bar. Imagine if I said, hey, my family reunions used to be piss-poor affairs, with every aunt and uncle staring glumply at a similarly colored block of corporate cheese. But now that we have fine artisanal cheeses, we are a true family again. You might say that I perhaps put too much stock in the cheese.

    I think of the days of my old man having his buddies over on the porch. One guy favored Hamm’s. Someone else favored Genessee. Depended on whose porch you were on. But they were cheap, so everyone could drink a case and nobody cared. They talked about cars and the school system and the state of the local football team. I guess it might have been better if they could talk about how much hopps was in the IPA, or whether Belgian processes were superior to German.

    I don’t feel like the craft brew movement has gotten me much of anything except a bunch of guys who insist on bringing their own 12 pack because if something has the wrong level of maltiness, as measured by a fine something or other they once had someplace or another, they can’t choke it down.

    Sometimes good taste just gets in the way.Report