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

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Research Areas
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Publication Details
Author list: Laven, Daniel;Skoglund, Wilhelm
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Publication year: 2019
ISSN: 1753-8335


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

Design/methodology/approach – 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.

Findings – 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.

Originality/value – 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.

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