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Craft beer – building social terroir through connecting people, place and business

Annelie Sjölander-Lindqvist (Gothenburg Research Institute, Goteborgs Universitet, Goteborg, Sweden)
Wilhelm Skoglund (Department of Business, Economics and Law, Mid-Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden)
Daniel Laven (Department of Tourism Studies and Geography, Mid-Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 7 August 2019

Issue publication date: 17 April 2020



This paper aims to propose the concept of social terroir to help navigate phenomenological and epistemological conditions of small-scale food entrepreneurship.


This study used a qualitative research approach and was implemented in the peripheral region of Jämtland in northern Sweden. The study interrogated the ambitions of craft brewers when starting up, their long-term goals and visions, including questions about the reason for starting up a brewery, how the different brewers cooperate and how and why the products are designed and labelled the way they are.


This study shows that the production of craft beer is an inherently social practice that is part of a particular sociocultural milieu. This milieu informs production in distinct and interrelated ways: through connecting to place and locality in the different aspects of production and marketing, through cooperation to develop production and overcome barriers, and through embedding their work in sustainability discourses.


The study addresses how, in the context of craft beer, terroir or taste of place, is a matter of social ties to place and community–social terroir. What is novel is the way in which social terroir becomes a critical ingredient in the production of craft beer. This illustrates how small-scale food production and gastronomic efforts can link people, places and businesses.



The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage, a research platform introduced by the European Commission in 2008 aimed at implementing the European Research Area (ERA), and the Swedish Cultural Heritage Board. Particular thanks also to all the informants for their time spent during interviews and visits of facilities. They also would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


Sjölander-Lindqvist, A., Skoglund, W. and Laven, D. (2020), "Craft beer – building social terroir through connecting people, place and business", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 149-162.



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