Author Topic: Research papers or studies on homebrewing's contribution craft beer industry?  (Read 4626 times)

Offline echow

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Hello everyone,
I am new here, so, nice to meet you all.

I was wondering if anyone knows of a research paper or academic study that quantifies the relationship between a strong homebrewing culture and the success of the craft beer industry.

I am working on a lobbying proposal to deregulate homebrewing in Japan (it is more or less illegal to homebrew anything above 1% ABV right now) and I could use some evidence to back up:

Without a strong Homebrewing community the Craft Beer industry cannot reach its potential due to the following essential contributions Homebrewers make:

   Creating of consumer knowledge
o   How the Homebrewing community in the US advocates and educates consumers

   Creating a pool of skilled labor
o   History of having to bring in foreign brew masters or send people to foreign beer schools
o   Lack of talent to support growth
o   Lack of people with the knowledge to have a go at starting their own brewery

   Creating expertise and demand that drives the domestic ingredients industry.
o   Insufficient scale
o   Little domestic production of quality inputs

Thanks you in advance for your time and advice,
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 02:31:28 PM by echow »

Offline BrewingRover

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 752
  • Brewing in Flossmoor, IL
    • View Profile
I'm a business librarian by trade and IME, economic studies don't look at factors like you are after, so it may be difficult to pull it together. Most empirical work focuses on industries at a much more macro level. That said, here's where I would start, assuming you don't have access to subscription databases 
Free database of scholarly economic literature. In some cases you can get the articles for free, but many will be behind paywalls. One problem you'll encounter is that homebrew can also mean software.
The Beeronomics Society. This might help you identify researchers in the field.

If you can get to a database that sources trade publications, there may be more popular sources that do talk about some of this. These publications are almost always behind paywalls, but libraries subscribe to sources that include the text.
It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

Online denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19932
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Contact the Brewers Association.  If anyone knows, they will.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8198
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Contact the Brewers Association.  If anyone knows, they will.
This.  And you could go with newspaper articles about homebrewers who have gone pro, they would fill a binder or two, from Jim Koch (Boston Beer Co) to Mic Sager (Dungeness Brewing, he's floating around the board somewhere).
Tom Schmidlin

Offline echow

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Thanks for all your help guys.
I will start looking into those sources and try to email someone at the Brewers Association.
I managed to cobble together some statistics like

Of the top 20 US Craft Breweries identified by the monthly industry newsletter, Beer Marketer's Insights , half of them were founded by Homebrewers who decided to take their passion for good beer commercial .

By getting the list and then researching each company's founders. But finding anything with numbers is a bit rare. And BrewingRover, you are completely correct about the homebrew software thing. Oddly enough it is easier to find case studies on that...

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out with this. I'll post again when I manage to make some progress.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9008
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
I don't think they have anything as far as formal research, but you can ask on If nothing else you will get an idea of how those folks started out.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline micsager

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1179
    • View Profile
The recent issue of "new Brewer" spoke to this subject a little bit. 

The story was regarding the shortage of qualified brewers in America right now.  Many brewers have left their flagship brands for greener pastures.  Sometimes on their own, sometimes for another brewery. 

The article did state that many years of homebrewing no long equates to a good commercial brewer without formal education.  And how hard it is to get someone to do the hard physicial labor that it takes to be a brewer, along with the technical and scientific knowledge required.  Their a few people that qualify.  And when you combine that with the massive growth of the craft beer segment, it's a recipe for disaster. 

At least that's the thesis of this article. 

Offline Jimmy K

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3646
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Although everybody has their favorite homebrewer-gone-big-time story, I believe the biggest impact of homebrewing is to provide a customer base for all those pro breweries. But that is even more difficult to quantify.
Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup - former president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP Certified: B0958

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2214
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Although everybody has their favorite homebrewer-gone-big-time story, I believe the biggest impact of homebrewing is to provide a customer base for all those pro breweries. But that is even more difficult to quantify.

That's so true. Per capita consumption is seriously skewed by heavy drinkers. We studied alcoholism in my psychopathology class in college. Basically, something like 90% of all alcohol consumed is consumed by about 10% of the drinkers. Most of the homebrewers I know definitely fall into that 10%. The other "drinkers" drink very infrequently. Some people only drink one or two times a year. As someone who enjoys a pint just about every day, that's inconceivable to me.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.