Alan McLeod’s rescue of this month’s Session was more timely in more ways than one. The day he posted the Session topic when the original host went inexplicably missing, I purchased the book Wine Wars online. Wine Wars is written by economist Mike Veseth and describes the economic forces between globalization and localization that are changing the wine industry landscape. Sounds like what’s going on in beer, don’t you think?
Now only in my weakest moments do I turn to a glass of wine so why would I want to read a book on wine economics? Well, I can’t find any books on beer economics. So when Alan asks for the Session topic “What beer book which has yet to be written would you like to see published?”, my answer is a book on beer economics, written by an actual economist.
Sure, economics has long been an interest of mine, but this book would certainly be in demand. Plenty of us are asking questions like “Will there be a craft beer bubble?” , “How do they make me buy the beer?” and even “Will there be massive consolidation in the craft beer industry?” There’s concern about potential over pricing of craft beers, questions on whether pricing pressures will start squeezing smaller craft breweries and plenty of speculation on the significance of events like Anheuser-Busch acquiring 10 Barrel Brewing. A good economist would shed a lot of light on these questions. I used to enjoy reading Patrick Emerson’s Beeronomics blog which provided lots of good economic insights on beer but unfortunately his blog has gone silent since last May.
Who would write this book? I honestly don’t know. It’s clear that compared to wine, beer is clearly behind when it comes to economists. There’s enough wine economists in the United States to form the American Association of Wine Economists . They even have their own research journal and host an annual conference. Not surprisingly, Europe has it’s own European Association for Wine Economists. I could not find any similar organizations relating to beer other than the bi-annual Beeronomics Conference, organized mostly by European academics although for the first time in its short five year history will take place in the United States this coming fall.
We’ve got plenty of books full of beer reviews and pairings of beer with food is pretty well worn territory. Personally, I’d like to see a good book on the unique economics of beer. I doubt I’m alone.