Skip to main content

The U.S. Beer Industry: Concentration, Fragmentation, and a Nexus with Wine*

  • Kenneth G. Elzinga (a1)

The U.S. Beer industry has undergone two periods of major structural change in the post-World War II period. The first period, 1950–1980, was one of consolidation in which concentration increased dramatically. Since this period, combinations among leading brewers took place that would not have passed antitrust scrutiny earlier. The second period, from 1980 on, is one of fragmentation, marked by the entry of many craft brewers and increased product heterogeneity. The fragmentation has brought about consumption complementarities between wine and beer that never existed before. The wine and beer industry both face distributional inefficiencies sustained by state regulatory provisions that were a consequence of ending prohibition in the United States. Each of these topics is explored in this paper. (JEL Classification: L66, M37)

Hide All
All About Beer (2010a). R. Protz Review of Evans' Good Bottled Beer Guide. 31 (2)91.
All About Beer (2010b). Fritz Bows Out. 31 (3)4.
All About Beer (2011a). Pull Up A Stool With Jack McAuliffe. 32 (4)22.
All About Beer (2011b). Beer Event Brainstorm. 32 (4)22.
Anderson, M. (May 10, 2010). In Vino VERITAS. The Weekly Standard.
Beer Marketer's Insights (April 19, 2010a) 41(8).
Beer Marketer's Insights (May 10, 2010b) 41(9).
Beer Marketer's Insights (February 7, 2011a) 42(3).
Beer Marketer's Insights (March 7, 2011b) 42(5).
Beer Marketer's Insights (August 1, 2011c) 42(14).
Beliveau, B.C. and Rouse, M.E. (2010). Prohibition and repeal: a short history of the wine industry's regulation in the United States. Journal of Wine Economics, 5, 5368.
Colen, L. and Swinnen, J.F.M. (2010). Beer drinking nations: the determinants of global Beer consumption. LICOS Discussion Paper No. 270.
Elzinga, K.G. (2009a). The beer industry. In Brock, J. (ed.), The Structure of American Industry (12th ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.
Elzinga, K.G. (2009b). Review of The U.S. Brewing Industry: Data and Economic Analysis. Journal of Wine Economics, 4, 248250.
Elzinga, K.G. and Swisher, A.W. (2011). Developments in U.S. merger policy: the beer industry as lens. In: Swinnen, J.F.M. (ed.). The Economics of Beer. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 196212.
Evans, J. (2009). Good Bottled Beer Guide, 7th ed. St. Albans UK: CAMRA Books.
Felton, E. (June 4, 2010). No bottoms up: light Beer sales are sagging. Wall Street Journal. Horowitz, A. and Horowitz, I. (1967). The beer industry. Business Horizons, 10(3), 519.
Jackson, Michael (1977) The World Guide to Beer. London: Mitchell Beazley.
Mosher, R. (2009). Tasting Beer. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.
The New Brewer: Annual Industry Review Issue (May/June 2011).
Skilnik, B. (2007). Beer & Food. Lookout Mountain, TN: Jefferson Press.
Storchmann, K. (2011). Wine Economics: Emergence, Developments, Topics. AAWE Working Paper No. 85.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Gordonsville, TN: Dugan, n.d.
Tremblay, V.J. and Horton, Tremblay|C. (2005). The US. Brewing Industry: Data and Economic Analysis. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Tremblay, V.J., Horton, Tremblay C. and Iwasaki, N. (2005). The dynamics of industry concentration for U.S. micro and macrobrewers. Review of Industrial Organization, 26, 307324.
Tremblay, C.H. and Tremblay, V.J. (2011). Recent economic developments in the import and craft segments of the U.S. brewing industry. In: Swinnen, J.F.M. (ed.), The Economics of Beer. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 141160.
Whitman, D.G. (2003). Strange Brew: Alcohol and Government Monopoly. Oakland, CA: The Independent Institute.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Wine Economics
  • ISSN: 1931-4361
  • EISSN: 1931-437X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-wine-economics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed