Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gohmann: "Regulation, religion, and corporate interest (make) the South less hospitable to small breweries."

Steve Gohmann is a native of New Albany and a longtime acquaintance from the Public House. He's been a professor at U of L's School of Economics for more than two decades, and recently made the news when "tapped" to head the new John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise at U of L’s College of Business.

(That's Papa John, by the way)

To me, Steve is considerably more renowned of our little known somewhat secret beer tasting board, which regrettably, I've not have the time to attend of late. In what spare time he has, Steve has concluded research on craft beer and the South. The release of his paper garnered much social media attention, so please permit me to offer belated congratulations to him. I hope we can share a beer soon.

Why the South Is the Region With the Fewest Breweries, by Joe Pinsker (The Atlantic)

It may be hard to imagine now, but American ale-drinkers previously had few alternatives to the mass-produced beers that The Economist once (not incorrectly) deemed "fizzy dishwater." In fact, there were only two craft breweries in America in 1977. By 2012, that number had risen to 2,751, and while macrobreweries such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors still dominate America's beer market, craft breweries are estimated to account for about a tenth of the industry's revenues.

While observations abound about "the rise of America's craft breweries," the story has been very different on the state level. Vermont, for example, had one brewery for every 25,000 residents in 2012. Mississippi, meanwhile, had one for every 994,500. These aren't anomalous islands of booziness and temperance—they're exemplars of their regions. The nine states with the fewest breweries are all in the South. What is it about the region that might make this true?

In short, it's because of the Baptists. Steve Gohmann, a professor of economics at the University of Louisville, recently published a paper in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice cataloguing the potent blend of regulation, religion, and corporate interest that makes the South less hospitable to small breweries ...

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