Brewing up a debate on craft beer

The challenges for Scotland’s growing craft beer sector will be explored at an event at the University of Strathclyde this week.

Worth millions

Researchers from Strathclyde Business School - Dr Juliette Wilson, Dr Maria Karampela, and Professor Sarah Dodd - will lead a workshop aimed at identifying collaborative action to sustain and enhance the industry, which is growing by 7% annually and has the potential to be worth millions of pounds to the Scottish economy.

Representatives of the industry from across Europe will meet academics and business support organisations to discuss ways of making the most of their economic, cultural and social capital.

The workshop, on Thursday, 4 May, forms part of Engage With Strathclyde, a week of events showcasing research and innovation from across the University’s four faculties.

Dr Karampela, a Lecturer in Strathclyde’s Department of Marketing, is leading the workshop. She said: “The craft beer industry has a very distinctive culture in being highly collaborative, which is quite unlike larger-scale beer producers. Small breweries will share ideas, practices and even recipes with each other and it’s important to each one that they’re all able to produce a high quality of beer.

“Some breweries are on industrial estates but many can also be found in rural areas, where they’re particularly closely linked to tourism – indeed, in some areas, they are embedded in the tourism trade.          

“A lot of craft beer companies grew out of people’s interest in home brewing but some were set up by people with previous experience in the beer industry. Others have a science background, while some were simply looking for a lifestyle change.

“These companies are innovating constantly and producing a valuable product. We’re looking to play a part in bringing consumers on board and helping them to understand where the craft beer sector is coming from.

The event, Building Growth for Scotland’s Craft Beer Sector, will be held from 9:30am – 4:30pm in the Cathedral Wing of Strathclyde Business School. It also forms part of Crafting Growth: Exploring emerging potential and challenges of extended collaboration for Scotland’s craft beer sector project, funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute.