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Global Alcohol Markets: Evolving Consumption Patterns, Regulations and Industrial Organizations


  • Kym Anderson
  • Giulia Meloni
  • Johan Swinnen


For millennia alcoholic drinks have played an important role in food security and health (both positive and negative), but consumption patterns of beer, wine and spirits have altered substantially over the past two centuries. So too have their production technologies and industrial organization. Globalization and economic growth have contributed to considerable convergence in national alcohol consumption patterns. The industrial revolution contributed to excess consumption by stimulating demand and lowering the cost of alcohol. It also led to concentration in some alcohol industries, expecially brewing. In recent years the emergence of craft producers has countered firm concentration and the homogenization of alcoholic beverages. Meanwhile, governments have intervened extensively in alcohol markets to reduce excessive consumption, raise taxes, protect domestic industries and/or ensure competition. These regulations have contributed to, and been affected by, evolving patterns of consumption and changing structures of alcohol industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Kym Anderson & Giulia Meloni & Johan Swinnen, 2018. "Global Alcohol Markets: Evolving Consumption Patterns, Regulations and Industrial Organizations," LICOS Discussion Papers 40118, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  • Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:40118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Slade, Margaret E, 1998. "Beer and the Tie: Did Divestiture of Brewer-Owned Public Houses Lead to Higher Beer Prices?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 565-602, May.
    2. Joshua Aizenman & Eileen Brooks, 2008. "Globalization and Taste Convergence: the Cases of Wine and Beer," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 217-233, May.
    3. Giulia Meloni & Johan Swinnen, 2017. "Standards, Tariffs and Trade: The Rise and Fall of the Raisin Trade Between Greece and France in the Late 19th Century and the Definition of Wine," LICOS Discussion Papers 38617, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    4. Poelmans, Eline & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2011. "From Monasteries to Multinationals (and Back): A Historical Review of the Beer Economy," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 196-216, October.
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    14. Johan Swinnen, 2017. "Some Dynamic Aspects of Food Standards," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 99(2), pages 321-338.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lara Cockx & Giulia Meloni & Johan Swinnen, 2019. "The Water of Life and Death: A Brief Economic History of Spirits," LICOS Discussion Papers 41719, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    2. Anderson, Kym, 2020. "Consumer Taxes on Alcohol: An International Comparison over Time," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 42-70, February.
    3. Giulia Meloni & Kym Anderson & Koen Deconinck & Johan Swinnen, 2019. "Wine Regulations," Wine Economics Research Centre Working Papers 2019-01, University of Adelaide, Wine Economics Research Centre.
    4. Áron Török & Ákos Szerletics & Lili Jantyik, 2020. "Factors Influencing Competitiveness in the Global Beer Trade," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(15), pages 1-15, July.
    5. Kym Anderson, 2020. "Evolving from a rum state: Australia's alcohol consumption," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 64(3), pages 724-749, July.
    6. Clements, Ken & Lan, Yihui & Liu, Haiyan, 2020. "Understanding Alcohol Consumption across Countries," 2020 Conference (64th), February 12-14, 2020, Perth, Western Australia 305249, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

    More about this item


    Globalization of preferences; Convergence of national beverage consumption mix; Alcohol and health; Restrictions on alcohol consumption and production; Beverage firm concentration;

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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