The Economics of Beer

ISBN : 9780199693801

Johan F. M. Swinnen
400 Pages
161 x 241 mm
Pub date
Oct 2011
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Beer has been consumed across the globe for centuries and was the drink of choice in many ancient societies. Today it is the most important alcoholic drink worldwide, in terms of volume and value. The largest brewing companies have developed into global multinationals, and the beer market has enjoyed strong growth in emerging economies, but there has been a substantial decline of beer consumption in traditional markets and a shift to new products. There is close interaction between governments and markets in the beer industry. For centuries, taxes on beer or its raw materials have been a major source of tax revenue and governments have regulated the beer industry for reasons related to quality, health, and competition. This book is the first economic analysis of the beer market and brewing industry. The introduction provides an economic history of beer, from monasteries in the early Middle Ages to the recent 'microbrewery movement', whilst other chapters consider whether people drink more beer during recessions, the effect of television on local breweries, and what makes a country a 'beer drinking' nation. It comprises a comprehensive and unique set of economic research and analysis on the economics of beer and brewing and covers economic history and development, supply and demand, trade and investment, geography and scale economies, technology and innovation, health and nutrition, quantity and quality, industrial organization and competition, taxation and regulation, and regional beer market developments.


1. A Brief Economic History of Beer
2. Beer Production, Profits, and Public Authorities in the Renaissance
3. Standards and International Trade Integration: A Historical Review of the German 'Reinheitsgebot'
4. Brewing Nation: War, Taxes, and the Growth of the British Beer Industry in the 18th and 19th Centuries
5. Belgian Beers: Where History Meets Globalization
6. Cold Comfort in Hard Times: Do People Drink More Beer During Recessions?
7. Beer Drinking Nations: The Determinants of Global Beer Consumption
8. Recent Economic Developments in the Import and Craft Segments of the US Brewing Industry
9. Culture and Beer Preferences
10. Competition Policy Towards Brewing: Rational Response to Market Power or Unwarranted Interference in Efficient Markets?
11. Developments in US Merger Policy: The Beer Industry as Lens
12. The Growth of Television and the Decline of Local Beer
13. Determinants of the Concentration in Beer Markets in Germany and the United States: 1950 - 2005
14. How the East was Won: The Foreign Takeover of the Eastern European Brewing Industry
15. Beer Battles in China: The Struggle over the World's Largest Beer Market
16. From Vodka to Baltika: A Perfect Storm in the Russian Beer Market
17. Opening the Beer Gates: How Liberalization Caused Growth in India's Beer Market
18. Beeronomics: The Economics of Beer and Brewing

About the author: 

Johan Swinnen is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels, where he directs the programme on EU agricultural and food policy. He was previously Lead Economist at the World Bank and Economic Advisor at the European Commission. He consults for the OECD, FAO, EBRD, UNDP, IFAD, and several Governments and was coordinator of international research networks on food policy, institutional reforms, and economic development. He is President-Elect of the International Association of Agricultural Economists and a Fellow of the European Association of Agricultural Economists. He holds a PhD from Cornell University. He has published widely on political economy, institutional reform, trade, and agricultural and food policy.

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