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Behind the beer: An examination of ‘entrepreneurial’ motives for starting a craft brewery

Ellis, Vaughan; Richards, James


James Richards


Daniel Clarke

Vaughan Ellis

Holly Patrick-Thomson

David Weir


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 brewers 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 thirty 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.

Acceptance Date Apr 5, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 13, 2021
Publication Date Dec 13, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 13, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 13, 2021
Publisher Emerald
Book Title Researching Craft Beer: Understanding Production, Community and Culture in an Evolving Sector
Chapter Number 2
ISBN 9781800431850
Keywords micro breweries,brewing entrepreneurs, craft beer, push and pull factors, craft work, career change
Public URL


Behind The Beer: An Examination Of ‘entrepreneurial’ Motives For Starting A Craft Brewery (accepted version) (786 Kb)

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