Beer Production, Profits, and Public Authorities in the Renaissance
This chapter deals with a range of success-constraining problems which brewers faced during the Renaissance, despite a rapid growth in demand for beer and increasing sales. Technical changes led to higher average size of firms in the industry and so increased capital requirements. Governments at all levels took a greater interest in regulating and taxing brewing. The industry was largely urban and environmental degradation, in some cases caused by the ways of making beer, created pressure for more rules and more investment. Rising land costs along with rising prices of some principal raw materials also threatened the profitability of the industry. Eventually the hurdles proved too high and profits along with brewing stagnated or declined in the second half of the 17th century. Trends were all but universal in the beer-drinking regions of Europe.
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