(FinancialPress) — A former big alcohol high-level exec has transitioned into the cannabis space. Torsten Kuenzlen has quite the history, having participated in the ranks of Coca-Cola and Molson Coors. His impressive resume and knowledge of the markets make him lean towards one uncomfortable truth: alcohol companies should be cautious about the wave of marijuana legalization.
Kuenzlen believes that legal mj holds an evident competitive advantage over alcoholic beverages: “All alcohol is consumed only as a liquid. Cannabis meets more consumer needs and motivations in the way that it’s consumed.” He also added that it won‘t be long until we see cannabis companies being the ones acquiring alcohol makers.
He was recently appointed as CEO of Sundial Growers, a Canadian cannabis company. His vision is turning the company into “the Coca-Cola of cannabis“.
Kuenzlen was recently interviewed to discuss an array of topics:
On marijuana being a threat to the alcohol industry:
“Clearly there is going to be access to a recreational alternative for adult use. There can be no doubt about it.
When you look at the size of the opportunity, the profit pool for cannabis is as big as the entire alcohol industry in three to five years. “
On the edge cannabis has over alcohol products:
“Interestingly, all alcohol is consumed only as a liquid.
Cannabis has the advantage over alcohol in that it meets more consumer needs and motivations in the way that it’s consumed.
Alcohol companies need to think about how to turn that into an opportunity rather than a threat.
Constellation’s approach was a good one. They made a seed investment (in Canopy Growth) to learn more about cannabis and figure out where there will be synergies – and there’s no doubt there will be synergies between cannabis and alcohol businesses.“
On synergy between the industries:
“There are needs and motivations of consumers that are similar between alcohol and cannabis. But cannabis accesses motivation and needs that alcohol can’t go after.
The synergies are a larger pool of opportunities to meet more consumer needs than alcohol alone can.
They both work with the provincial liquor board (in Canada), so there is potential there.
As we look at the emerging retail landscape, there’s some customers who will be in both the alcohol and cannabis industry. So there’s synergy there to leverage those relationships.a“