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Brewing Growth: Regional Economic Development, Social Engagement and the Global Beer Industry

Abstract Deadline: 15th May 2020

This special issue seeks to explore the impact of the beer and brewing industry on regional economies and local communities. Since its origins, the brewing industry evolved from small-sized brewers mostly locally-based and privately owned, into the global behemoth it is today. The production and consumption of beer features prominently in our daily lives. Brewers have been adept at launching powerful, and often humorous advertising campaigns, via traditional means of communications and social media, as well as sponsorship of major sporting events. In recent years, however, the growth of major national and multinational brewers and their mass distribution of rather bland beer provoked a fightback from micro and local brewers who pride themselves in brewing craft beers.

Given the diverse interest in beer and brewing processes at the global level it is surprising that, to date, research has focused mainly on particular themes such as multinational brewers and industrial strategies, mergers and acquisitions, and marketing and branding, at both the national and international level. As a result, there is a paucity of research about the impact of the beer and brewing industry on regional economies and local communities. In particular, microeconomic aspects associated with brewing production and distribution processes -- and the ways in which local brewers interact with the communities they serve -- seems to have been generally neglected by economic and social geographers, despite the importance of these businesses to employment, training and investment in local economies and societies.

The aim of this special issue, therefore, is to exploring and examining the role of beer and brewing at regional and sub-regional levels. This special issue seeks to address broad themes like: how significant is the role of multinational breweries in terms of employment and investment within regions and regional markets? How important are micro- and craft breweries to the local communities in which they operate? To what extent have these brewers benefitted from tax incentives (e.g. the Small Brewer Relief in the UK), and how have these incentives helped to create economic growth within local markets? Further, how, and to what extent, do consumers in a particular region identify with the beer types and brands produced in that region? Conversely, to what extent do brewers themselves value regional and local provenance?

Submission Information and Timeline

Indicative sub-topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • the impact of industrial brewing and multinational beer conglomerates and companies on national and regional economies;
  • the growth of craft beer movements in different countries;
  • the significance of beer and brewing for employment, business networks, local communities and supply chains;
  • the role of localism and provenance in beer branding and marketing;
  • regional, national and international trade flows and distribution networks for breweries; and
  • national and international regulations affecting the beer and brewing industry, including taxation and drink awareness campaigns, and their impact at regional and sub-regional level.


The special issue is receptive to papers pursuing these themes using a variety of methods, including literature reviews, meta-analyses, and case studies, in addition to theory and empirics, as well as papers addressing a variety of specific topics related to the broad themes. Methodological approaches that bridge the gap between qualitative and quantitative research, e.g. QCA method, are especially welcome.

If you would like to discuss a topic for the special issue prior to submitting an abstract, please get contact with one of the guest-editors for this special issue: Ignazio Cabras, Ron Davies, David Higgins & Dieter F. Kogler.

Please share with others who might be interested.


The Special Issue Guest Editors welcome papers for consideration from academics and researchers, especially those with an interest in the social foundations and economic aspects of beer and brewing at regional and sub-regional levels.  Authors interested in publishing in the Special Issue should, in the first instance, submit a 400 word abstract or full draft manuscript to Ignazio Cabras ([email protected]) by May 15th, 2020.  Following review and invitation by the Guest Editors shortly after this initial deadline, full papers must be received by September 1st, 2020.  Submissions will be subject to Regional Studies’ normal rigorous peer-review process. Details of journal’s publication process, evaluation criteria and style are available on the journal’s website.

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