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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Have a Pint, Save the Economy

Fascinating piece in the New York Times Economix blog on the "beer recession."
Europeans are saving money by drinking at home rather than in pubs, which is costing jobs in the hospitality industry and depressing tax revenue, according to the study by Ernst & Young, which was paid for by the Brewers of Europe, an industry group.

The shift to home consumption has a disproportionate effect on unemployment, because 73 percent of jobs associated with the European beer industry are outside breweries. They are found instead in bars, hotels and restaurants.
The magnification means that an 8% decline in pub sales works out to a 12% decline in beer industry employment. The figures were worse in Greece, where a five-liter decline in consumption led to a 15% crash in beer industry employment. The lesson is, as always, the same: drink your beer.


  1. Oh dear. As a homebrewer, I shudder at all the jobs I've destroyed by not buying commercial beer!

  2. Anyone disagree that homebrewing in the US has actually helped increase the overall sales in the craft segment?

  3. Brad--you're still supporting the brewing industry. The homebrewing industry. And I think Let's Party is probably right about it being a net win for everyone.

  4. Well, once again, the NY Times, the former "newspaper of record" can hang its head in shame.

    First of all, the article (as well as the study) says that beer consumption in pubs has declined in favour of consumption at home. Well, according to the study, pub consumption decreased by 9.2 percent. But, what the Times article misses is that the study says in-home consumption also declined!

    Secondly, neither the study nor the Times point out that another (perhaps major) reason for the decline in the horeca (European expression standing for hotel, restaurant, cafe) is that a number of these establishments have gone bankrupt and closed. A local newspaper in my town (Amsterdam) had a major article about this recently.

    Saying that beer consumption has gone down in Greece is a bit like saying they're not serving caviar at the hospice anymore. Not to mention that Greece, even when healthy, was never considered a beer country.

    And, finally, let's not forget that the vast majority of beer served is industrial crap. That consumption of this has gone down is, quite simply, not exactly news.

    So, while neither the article nor the study distinguish between the types of beer discussed, industrial lager accounts for at least 60 percent of what is sold in pubs.