How to Fix Europe's Economic Woes: Drink More Beer

As the euro zone mulls ways to fix the broken economies that plague several of its member nations, its leaders should do so in a bar, over a pint. According to a new study by Ernst & Young (paid for, mind you, by the Brewers or Europe) finds that the decline in beer consumption may be a significant factor in Europe's sovereign debt problems. That's right: Europe might be able to fix its economic woes, in part, by drinking more beer. Has there ever been as wonderful a solution to a terrible problem?

Here's Jack Ewing of Economix explaining:

The shift to home consumption has a disproportionate effect on unemployment, because 73 percent of jobs associated with the European beer industry are outside breweries. They are found instead in bars, hotels and restaurants.

''Obviously, the crisis has had an effect,'' said Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, secretary general of the Brewers of Europe.

Beer consumption in Europe fell 8 percent from 2008 to 2010, the period covered by the study. But employment in the beer industry fell by 12 percent, or 260,000 jobs, the study said. That compares with a 2 percent decline in employment for Europe as a whole.

And Greece's beer recession was particularly bad, with its beer industry employment falling by 15%. Of course, the nation is also one of those with the most serious sovereign debt woes.

Okay, so drinking beer alone probably won't fix the problem entirely. Surely, the problems run deeper than just the reduction in beer consumption. But drinking more beer sure is the most enjoyable potential stimulus proposal I've ever heard.

Read the full story at Economix.