Craft Beer with a Free-Market Character

By: Carmen Elena Dorob??
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As the microbrewery trend is seeing a rise everywhere in the world, 2018 saw the launch of the White Collar Brewing in Bucharest, in my native Romania. Behind the already highly acclaimed beers lies an interesting piece of information: the brewery is the entrepreneurial endeavor of an Austrian economist, professor at the Romanian-American University in Bucharest and former Mises Institute fellow, Bogdan Gl?van.

Bogdan’s business started as a passion for craft beers, filling in a gap in a domestic market saturated with mass-produced, bland tasting options. Although he built it alongside his lifelong dedication to scholarship in the tradition of Mises and Rothbard in his academic profession, the two passions are not as separate as you might expect.

First, one of the beers is named “Zero Taxe” (eng. Zero Taxes), a nod to the main policy recommendation of any consistent Rothbardian. Bogdan also recommends it to be enjoyed together with Mises’s Human Action. Some of his customers also subscribe to this view and their recommendations on the brewery’s homepage are equally witty: [The beer] is so good, the government should nationalize it and redistribute it to all its citizens. IPA for the people!”

Second, Bogdan also uses his now daily experiences as an entrepreneur to point out the suffocating bureaucratic environment in Romania and the regulatory obstacles businesses must overcome. For instance, a recent experience has taught him that, although all water supplies are already controlled by a government monopoly and paid for by taxes, entrepreneurs must—beside having special filters and production processes in place—also periodically collect and send water samples to a laboratory, as well as pay for them to be tested, in order to obtain a certificate from the national authorities allowing them to use the water supply in the brewing process.

Below is a picture Bogdan shared a while back with the caption: “Do you want to know how to produce beer in Romania? Here’s how!

Best of luck to White Collar Brewing in the future, and much patience to its owner in navigating the treacherous waters of government regulations.


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