You might think that the most beer in the world would be downed in a particularly brew-centric country. Say Germany, or maybe Ireland. And, in terms of per capita consumption, you're not far off. But in terms of total consumption, take a look at this fascinating writeup by the by the American Association of Wine Economists. Is this the future of world politics as seen through beer? China has surged ahead of the United States over the last twenty years to become the largest beer economy in the world in the volume of beer consumed, rising from close to zero in 1980 to hit 40 billion liters in 2007. Among other things the study notes that the popularity of beer is not a simple function of economic well-being. "Beer consumption initially increases with rising incomes, but at higher levels of income beer consumption falls." The study does also observes interestingly that global beer consumption has increased by large margins compared to wine and spirits. Have a look at the full report: Beer Drinking Nations by Liesbeth Colen and Johan Swinnen
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