Microbrewery consumer behavior
Microbreweries have become increasingly popular in the United States. This is demonstrated by their tremendous growth within recent decades. Regardless of their growing popularity, there is a lack of research regarding consumer behavior at microbreweries. The purpose of this study was to explore and identify the underlying behavioral, normative, and control beliefs of microbrewery consumers. This was done using a mixed design of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The first was a qualitative phase which used the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to explore the underlying behavioral, normative, and control beliefs of microbrewery consumers. The second phase included a questionnaire derived from the results of phase one and was used to understand the significance of the TPB and self-identity on consumer’s intentions. Additionally, beerscape was used to understand the significance of its variables on microbrewery consumer’s attitudes. The population of the study consisted of U.S. microbrewery consumers who were 21 years old or older. The qualitative sample included 25 visitors and 5 owners and/or operators of microbreweries in Alabama. This phase included semi-structured, in-depth interviews which were audio recorded, and transcribed. The second phase used the most salient consumer beliefs found in phase one to construct a questionnaire for consumers and administered at microbreweries in Alabama. There were 238 respondents and of those, 200 were used based off completion. Several themes emerged from phase one of the study. For example, consumers felt that supporting local businesses or communities was an advantage of visiting microbreweries. Phase two found that self-identity, attitude, and perceived behavior controls were the most significant predictors of microbrewery consumer’s intentions and that subjective norm became insignificant following the addition of self-identity. It was also found that the beerscape was not a significant predictor of microbrewery consumer attitudes. This study provides useful information for microbrewery owners and operators which will help them better serve their patrons. In addition to practical implications it also provides the first use of TPB in the microbrewery context, and the development of beerscape.