Belgian Beers: Where History Meets Globalization
This chapter discusses causes and consequences of historical and more recent trends in the Belgian beer market, which is characterized by an exceptionally large variety of different beers. Both consumption as well as the number of brewers has witnessed a downward trend over the past century. However, the number of breweries has stabilized recently and has even started to rise again, supported by increased domestic and international demand for specialty beers. Despite, or as some would argue, because of the globalization of the beer market with the domination of standard quality beers, alternative breweries catering to niche markets with special tastes are re-emerging. Two case studies, namely the recent history of trappist breweries and of AB InBev, illustrate the main trends in the Belgian brewery sector.
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