Beer‐Drinking Nations: The Determinants of Global Beer Consumption

Liesbeth Colen and Johan F. M. Swinnen

in The Economics of Beer

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693801
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731884 | DOI:
Beer‐Drinking Nations: The Determinants of Global Beer Consumption

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This chapter analyzes the evolution of beer consumption between countries and over time. Historically, there have been major changes in beer consumption in the world. In recent times, per capita consumption has decreased in traditional ‘beer drinking nations’ and increased strongly in emerging economies. A quantitative empirical analysis shows that the relationship between income and beer consumption has an inverse U-shape. Beer consumption initially increases with rising incomes, but at higher levels of income beer consumption falls. Increased openness to trade and globalization has contributed to a convergence in alcohol consumption patterns across countries. In countries that were originally ‘beer drinking nations’, the share of beer in total alcohol consumption reduced while this is not the case in countries which traditionally drank mostly wine or spirits. Climatic conditions, religion, and relative prices also influence beer consumption.

Keywords: beer; consumption patterns; history; taste convergence; beer consumption

Chapter.  6338 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Systems

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