PORTLAND, Maine — A while back, Sam Pfeifle was on his way to buy pumpkins with his family when he got a phone call from a friend he used to work with at the Portland Phoenix newspaper.
They talked about how legal marijuana dispensaries were opening up in Maine and whether that might open the door to a business opportunity.
“We’re publications professionals,” Pfeifle said, “And we were just thinking, ‘Where are these people going to advertise? They’ve got to advertise somewhere.’”
They figured the new marijuana market would face some of the same challenges that craft brewing had when it was getting started.
That was back when many people didn’t know the difference between a pilsner and a porter, which meant the cannabis industry would have to educate consumers just as brewers had.
“We said, ‘It needs a magazine,’” Pfeifle recalled. “All of a sudden, we had four partners, and away we went. We went from the idea to our first magazine in, like, six weeks.” The new magazine’s name was direct, succinct, and catchy: Beer & Weed.
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“It’s a lifestyle magazine for people who make beer and weed part of their lifestyle,” Pfeifle, who is the editor, said.
Anyone snickering because they think it’s a monthly how-to manual for the Up In Smoke crowd needs to think again.
“I don’t think we are going to be the publication for people who just want to see how stoned they can get,” Pfeifle said. “That’s not the idea.”
Beer & Weed just celebrated its first anniversary and found itself doing rather well in an age when print is supposed to be hurting.
With content about evenly divided between beer and cannabis, it’s selling ads, attracting readers (with subscribers in 30 states), and breaking even financially. However, none of its backers have yet made any money.
Some of the optimism those backers have stemmed from their conviction that they’re not covering a fad.“
“Beer and weed are not going anywhere,” Pfeifle said. “They’re going to be popular.”