Beeronomics

How Beer Explains the World

Johan Swinnen,

Beeronomics: How Beer Explains the World
 
 
From prompting a transition from hunter-gatherer to an agrarian lifestyle in ancient Mesopotamia to bankrolling Britain's imperialist conquests, strategic taxation and the regulation of beer has played a pivotal role throughout history. Beeronomics: How Beer Explains the World tells these stories, and many others, whilst also exploring the key innovations that propelled the industrialization and consolidation of the beer market.At the same time when mega-mergers in the brewing industry are creating huge transnationals selling their beer across the globe, the craft beer movement in America and Europe has brought the rich history of ancient brewing techniques to the forefront in recent years. But less talked about is the economic influence of this beverage on the world and the myriad ways it has shaped the course of history. Beeronomics covers world history through the lens of beer, exploring the common rolethat beer taxation has played throughout and providing context for recognizable brands and consumer trends and tastes.Beeronomics examines key developments that have moved the brewing industry forward. Its most ubiquitous ingredient, hops, was used by the Hanseatic League to establish the export dominance of Hamburg and Bremen in the sixteenth century. During the late nineteenth century, bottom-fermentation led to the spread of industrial lager beer. Industrial innovations in bottling, refrigeration, and TV advertising paved the way for the consolidation and market dominance of major macrobrewerieslike Anheuser Busch in America and Artois Brewery in Belgium during the twentieth century. We're now in the era of global integration— one multinational AB InBev, claims 46% of all beer profits— but there's a counterrevolution afoot of small, independent craft breweries in both America, Belgium and around theworld. Beeronomics surveys these trends, giving context to why you see which brands and styles on shelves at your local supermarket or on tap at the nearby pub.


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