Newswise — Why are there so few breweries in the U.S. South? A University of Louisville economics professor who has researched the issue says religious beliefs play a major role. More Baptist voters live in southern states, a demographic that prompts elected officials in those states to support laws making it tough for new breweries to open, says Stephan Gohmann, BB&T Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise in UofL’s College of Business. Large established breweries and distributors profit from the reduced competition, so they make campaign contributions to maintain the status quo. According to Gohmann, the dynamic is much like the one seen during Prohibition, when a national ban on alcohol sales boosted bootleggers’ profits by reducing competition, but that too might be changing. He says the sharp rise in craft beer sales has caused many cash-strapped, southern states to consider relaxing these restrictions in an attempt to collect millions in additional tax revenue generated by an expanding microbrewery market. The study is headed for publication in the journal Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and was featured in a recent article in The Atlantic magazine and YahooNews.com. Gohmann can be reached at 502-852-4844 or [email protected] His photo is attached.