02 October 2011

Pub Crawling and Jobs or The Lack Thereof

The Brewers of Europe recently released a study that showed a correlation to falling pub sales and increasing unemployment.  73% of the jobs in the European beer industry are outside of the brewery: wait staff, bartenders, etc.  So as consumption declined 8% last year, the related jobs fell by 12%, a 260,000 loss.

This loss of jobs are contributing to the growing debt crisis across Europe. And as consumption declines, governments collect less taxes.  Some say that some of the consumption decrease can be laid squarely at the feet of steep value-added taxes added by many countries.  Especially Greece.

(I've written about this before. Using excise or value-added taxes to discourage a behavior is bad policy if you start depending on the revenue.  The United States uses cigarette taxes to fund child insurance programs AND they want people to stop buying cigarettes.)

Things are looking up now.  As microbreweries proliferate across Europe, cashing in on the craft beer boom, people expect beer consumption to rise. Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, secretary general of the Brewers of Europe, thinks consumers will begin to choose to drink beer with their meals rather than more costly wine. I don't share that expectation.  In the US beer is losing ground to wine, since wine is thought to be more "High Class."  But that's another post.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:00

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