May, 2004

Australian Beer Wars and Pub Demand

How Vertical Restraints Improved the Drinking Experience
  • Keith Jakee

    Associate Professor of Economics, Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University
  • Ryan Donnar

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Recently, Australia's two largest brewers, Carlton and United Breweries and Lion Nathan, have been aggressively competing for market share in the state of Victoria. Among other strategies, the two breweries have implemented vertical restraints in the form of ‘extensive’ agreements with retailers and the outright purchase of pubs. A key outcome of these purchases and agreements is the renovation of many pubs as brewers attempt to attract increasingly sophisticated drinkers. This paper attempts to quantify the value of these renovations and measure their associated impact on consumers, relying on insights from the hedonic literature. A simple, but novel approach, is used to estimate the implicit price of the pub environment and the effects of renovations on that price.

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