I am very pleased to share that I recently reached an agreement with the University of Nebraska Press to publish my scholarly frolic through the cultural-economic dynamics of the post-Prohibition brewing industry. “The Value of A Pint: American Beer, Cultural Change, and the Stubborn Materiality of Contemporary Capitalism” is officially FORTHCOMING.
What is the value of a pint of beer?
Two dollars? Seven dollars? A boost in one’s perceived masculinity? The warming pride in having displayed an act of patriotism? A successful bid for public office? A novel path to entrepreneurial success? A tightly knit sense of subcultural belonging? A measurable boon to the green economy? The acquisition of an enviable expertise? Many of us when asked to quantify the value of the objects that populate our everyday lives might answer, after some thought, it depends (and not in small part, upon what one means when one says value). But seldom do we pause to consider upon just how many varied and complexly interrelated phenomena something like the value of a pint of one of the U.S.’s favorite beverages actually depends.
The Value of Pint: American Beer, Cultural Change, and the Stubborn Materiality of Contemporary Capitalism explores how Americans have assigned value to the cultural and material products of the domestic brewing industry; and perhaps more significantly, how those process of valuation have reflected and shaped American culture over the last century. The book tells the story of change in the American brewing industry from its rebirth after federal Prohibition to the contemporary explosion of the craft brewing segment. Unlike the industrial histories that currently dominate academic/popular non-fiction about American Beer, The Value of a Pint examines a series of formative snapshots—crises and turns in the trajectory of one of the nation’s most ubiquitous food commodities—and traces their connections to broader cultural movements, practices, and social identities. Researched and written in the tradition of interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, the book argues that the evolution of the U.S. brewing industry, American beer, and American beer drinking demonstrate how profoundly inseparable the cultural and the economic are, despite our collective compulsion to hold these two domains of human experience to be mutually exclusive. In making this argument, The Value of a Pint advances a theory of culturally embedded valuation.