Wednesday, 20 October 2010

FYP: Attitudes towards craft brewing and beer consumption in the USA

This FYP aims to investigate the importance of beer making and beer consumption in the US. It will try to understand why Americans have certain attitudes towards alcohol, and why they choose a particular brand. The importance of independent business is also to be discussed, when comparing certain case studies of craft breweries against those of the corporate giants (such as Anheuser Busch).

The study of branding is also central to this project, as it will highlight how particular businesses wish to present themselves, as craft beer now has a reputation as a whole food - a hand made (crafted) product with a sense of tradition and honesty. An interesting example of this is how many corporate breweries now choose to imitate independent breweries (again by breweries such as Anheuser Busch) by tapping into a niche market, as craft beer is now seen to be a specialist product. Furthermore, I intend to investigate how America seeks a sense of permanence and history through it's beer production and consumption, by creating a new cultural memory built on brewing.

The materials I will gather come from varying sources, I plan to combine sales figures taken from annual reports by breweries, memoirs from brewers and histories of breweries. I will also select sources from more obscure origins also, such as documentaries and even down to a bottle shape or label, as they are designed to provoke a reaction within a consumer to purchase a product.

This truly is an American Studies dissertation as it deals with the core values of modern America: Consumption, Competition and Corporation. It can show how independent businesses transform into corporations, and how private business thrives in America, even when surrounded by the moral judgement of alcoholism and the long lasting effects of prohibition.

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