Special Topics Courses in Economics

The Economics of Beer (Economics 3850-1)
M/W/F 10:30 am - 11:20 am, Winter Semester 2020

This course applies the theories and tools of economics to a variety of issues relating to the brewing and consumption of beer. How is beer made? What changes have we seen over time in beer making and styles? And how is that history interwoven with government regulation and taxes, trade and changing market structures?

Analysis of the modern beer market begins with consideration of the demand for beer, its relation to price, income and substitutes, and on the supply side the evolution of production methods and economies of scale in the post-WW2 period. This leads into an examination of the growing concentration and globalization of the beer industry. Further analysis of the beer industry will look at strategy and tactics, the use of advertising and the interaction of these with competition policy. Additional sections examine the role of beer taxation in public finance, and related public policy concerns with negative externalities generated by beer. Finally we take a look at a number of emerging or growing markets for beer in China, India and Russia.


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