Date of Award
E. Eric Boschmann, Ph.D.
Beer, Craft, Marketing, Place, Wisconsin
This research examines place-related themes used in craft beer marketing initiatives in Wisconsin. "Place" describes the emotions and perceptions individuals hold in certain locations. Place theory, despite being universally experienced, is relatively understudied. Furthermore, this project is grounded in the recent neolocal movement - a movement towards local culture, and away from national homogenous culture. Broadly, this paper aims to understand the perceptual linkages between people and "their" place. In order to understand place and neolocal themes within these linkages, this project analyzes how individual beer names, beer-label imagery, and beer-related advertisements use familiar places to link products with a specific place, and thus, with local customers. Analysis is conducted through semi-structured interviews with brewery employees (n=7) and two content analyses of beer label images and descriptions (n=93). Additionally, the research compares place-related techniques employed by craft breweries and large-scale breweries.
Findings suggest that Wisconsin craft breweries purposefully cater to local connections through targeted marketing strategies that emphasize local identity and distinctiveness. Often times these connections are place-related, and call upon feelings of emotional attachment with the portrayed places. Four imagery themes rise from bottle label data: (1) natural settings dominate label imagery, (2) outdoor recreation is a widespread emphasis, (3) urban environments highlight specific places, and (4) human cultural activities frame social landscapes. Though place-related concepts are used on the bottle label, the primary goal is to convey cultural values to attract consumers that feel connected with these values. Places and locations are important vehicles by which to imbed the cultural values, but are not the primary targets of marketing strategies. In contrast to craft beer's local focus, large-scale breweries strive to embed their products within national identities to attract nationwide consumer base.
Craft beer labels do not necessarily make place out of space, rather, they reflect and elucidate a sense of place to the consumer with the hope of connecting products with places, and by proxy, the consumer culture. Understanding the commodification of place in a tangible and mobile good, allows for further understanding on how place-specific perceptions can be used to market and sell products based on emotions tied to place.
Quintana, Joseph A., "Crafted Places: The Use of Place in Wisconsin Craft Beer Marketing" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1155.
Received from ProQuest
Joseph A. Quintana