Why Nations Shift From Beer to Wine

It's all about income, specifically $22,000 per capita
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2011 4:29 PM CDT
China loves its beer, for now, a new study finds.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It's an economics treatise even Homer Simpson would love—how beer consumption relates to a nation's prosperity. The gist of the paper, as noted by financial blogger Felix Salmon at Reuters, goes like this: When residents of poor nations start making money, they start drinking beer. When they keep making money—and the tipping point is figured to be the equivalent of $22,000—they shift to wine.

This would explain why beer consumption is soaring in China (which has overtaken the US) and Russia, but it's declining or flat in the wold's traditional beer-drinking nations. "I would imagine that this relationship could also be found within the US— that states increase their beer consumption as they grow to an income of about $22,000 per capita, and thereafter see their beer consumption drop as their wine consumption increases," writes Salmon. Also: Expect a serious surge in wine sales in China over the next decade or two.

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