The decision by Corona beer seller Constellation Brands to buy a stake in a Canadian pot company marked the first major foray of an alcohol brand into the weed industry. With the taboo now broken, other purveyors of beer, wine and spirits may look for similar opportunities.

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Beer and weed could be a good mix for companies that sell both.

The decision by Corona beer seller Constellation Brands to buy a minority stake in a Canadian pot company marked the first major foray of an alcohol brand into the nascent weed industry. With the taboo now broken, other purveyors of beer, wine and spirits may look for similar opportunities in the expanding world of legal pot.

Brewers and distillers such as Molson Coors Brewing, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Diageo and Pernod Ricard may already be examining the marijuana space, according to beverage-industry analysts. Constellation’s move only intensifies the competitive pressure.

“There’s a threat on the horizon that if they don’t get into the game, they’re going to be left behind,” said Jason Zandberg, an analyst at PI Financial in Vancouver, B.C.

Constellation, based in Victor, New York, agreed to pay about C$245 million ($191 million) for a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy Growth, a Canadian seller of medicinal-marijuana products.

Among its peers, Constellation has taken a more progressive stance on weed for quite a while. Chief Executive Officer Rob Sands said in November that the company was keeping an eye on potential cannabis investments.

Molson Coors said Monday that it was continuing to monitor marijuana developments in the U.S. and Canada.

“We’ll leave it to policymakers to figure out those hard questions with respect to cannabis,” said Colin Wheeler, a spokesman for Molson Coors. “In the meantime, we’re focused on our portfolio of beer and cider brands.”

“Big alcohol could be a very positive bedfellow for the cannabis industry,” said Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, which sells tools for growing cannabis crops.

Constellation’s move is timely. Canada has legalized marijuana for medical use nationally and is expected to allow recreational weed by July 2018. Eight U.S. states — including Washington — and the District of Columbia allow for recreational use. That means one in five American adults can eat, drink, vape or smoke the product as they please. Twenty-one additional U.S. states have made medical-marijuana use licit, even though the drug remains illegal under federal law.

Public opinion about legal marijuana is changing. Sixty-four percent of the U.S. population now wants to lift the ban on the plant, according to a Gallup poll released last week. That’s the largest rating since the firm started asking about the topic in 1969, when only 12 percent approved.

For the big brewers and distillers, investing in cannabis is a chance to get in on the action rather than get hit by the consequences. In some states where pot is legal, alcohol sales volumes have declined as cannabis has gained.

Sixty percent of cannabis consumers in North America report some reduction in alcohol use when they are already using marijuana, said Vivien Azer, an analyst at Cowen & Co. In the U.S., cannabis use has been on the rise for almost a decade among 21- to 25-year-olds, while drinking alcohol has been on the decline.

“The alcohol companies are somewhat terrified of this industry,” said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Tilray, a closely held Canadian medical-marijuana producer. “They see cannabis as a substitute for alcohol.”

Constellation is probably treating Canada as an advanced test market to develop cannabis-infused beverages.

To date, drinkable weed hasn’t been a particularly prominent category. Forty percent of cannabis consumers have tried pot-infused beverages, compared with 85 percent who have tried baked goods, 72 percent who have eaten chocolates and 68 percent who have consumed gummies, according to BDS Analytics, a cannabis market data company.

Still, drinks have been particularly popular with female consumers who don’t want the calories of those other edible options, said Linda Gilbert, managing director of consumer research at BDS Analytics.

There’s another factor in favor of drinkable pot. “We have a culture of drinking our intoxicants,” Zandberg said. “That will be a big product winner. Having a beverage is very social, and it’s what a lot of people are used to.”