Pernod Ricard's CEO has said technological advances in virtual and augmented reality can give consumers a healthier "altered state" than cannabis.
Responding to a question at Pernod's AGM yesterday on the effect cannabis could have on premium alcohol sales, Alex Ricard said consumers use cannabis to because of a desire to change their perceptions. "This is made possible with cannabis but also made possible with other things, such as augmented reality and virtual reality," he said.
Ricard said Pernod has already run virtual reality activations with consumers in Tokyo that take them to digitally-rendered vineyards in Champagne.
"Within 30 seconds of putting on a virtual reality headset, a consumer forgets that they are in the world of virtual reality. That too is an altered state that consumers are seeking."
The CEO added: "This meets consumers needs and is healthier."
A number of alcohol firms have made moves towards cannabis beverages, including Molson Coors and Constellation, which have both linked up with Canadian cannabis producers. Other companies, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, have said they will not rush in to cannabis as the regulations around the market remain difficult to navigate.
Addressing Pernod's interest in cannabis, Ricard said the company was in the latter camp and will analyse the market over the next 18 months.
"It is our duty to see what is happening [in the cannabis market]," he said. "We will wait one year, a year-and-a-half to have grasp of what is happening."
Meanwhile, Ricard told investors at the AGM in Paris that the future of Absolut vodka brand lies outside of America and in markets such as China. Saying he was "disappointed" in the recent US performance of the brand, Ricard said growth in other countries was "remarkable".
He mentioned markets such as France and sub-Sarahan Africa and said that in China, Absolut is "transcending the vodka market to become a brand in its own right".
"The brand's future is probably to be found in these markets," Ricard added.