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

(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.

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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. (Read more beer stories.)

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