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Behind the Beer: An Examination of ‘Entrepreneurial’ Motives for Starting a Craft Brewery

Researching Craft Beer: Understanding Production, Community and Culture in An Evolving Sector

ISBN: 978-1-80043-185-0, eISBN: 978-1-80043-184-3

Publication date: 13 December 2021

Abstract

Brewing has experienced a considerable revival in recent years with the number of brewers in the UK being at its highest level since the 1930s (Cask Report, 2018). After decades of mergers and takeovers saw the emergence of a small number of global brewing conglomerates, many of the recently established breweries have spearheaded what has been referred to as a ‘craft beer revolution’. Typically, producing small batches of artisan brews and with small workforces, the output of craft brewers accounts for approximately 2.5% of all beer sales in the UK, but is the fastest growing sector of the drinks market. The growth of the industry mirrors that seen by artisan food producers and has led some to suggest an emerging preference for rejecting mass produced food and drink products.

Despite recognition of the craft beer industry’s emergence, growth and cultural significance, almost nothing is known about the individuals who started these new breweries, nor what their motivations for doing so were. Drawing upon 30 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with owner-brewers of craft breweries from across Scotland, this chapter presents findings examining owners’ backgrounds and motivations for starting their brewery. The findings show a range of motivations and expectations amongst the group of owners and provide a useful basis for making practical recommendations of how other aspiring craft beer ‘entrepreneurs’ can be best supported by the industry.

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Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

The authors would also like to acknowledge the input of Jennifer O’Neil (Edinburgh Napier University) who assisted with data collection.

Citation

Ellis, V. and Richards, J. (2021), "Behind the Beer: An Examination of ‘Entrepreneurial’ Motives for Starting a Craft Brewery", Clarke, D., Ellis, V., Patrick-Thomson, H. and Weir, D. (Ed.) Researching Craft Beer: Understanding Production, Community and Culture in An Evolving Sector, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 13-30. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-184-320211002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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