International Journal of Hospitality Beverage Management


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and identify the underlying behavioral, normative, and control beliefs of microbrewery consumers using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) model. A series of semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with microbrewery consumers in Alabama. Several themes emerged from the interviews, including the importance of supporting local businesses and communities, and the quality and variety of products. The study provides useful information to microbrewery owners/operators to help them better serve their patrons.

Executive Summary

Introduction The increased popularity of microbreweries is demonstrated by their tremendous growth within recent decades. Regardless of their growing popularity, there is a lack of research regarding consumer behavior in the microbrewery context. The purpose of this qualitative study, was to explore the underlying behavioral, normative, and control beliefs of microbrewery consumers using the theory of planned behavior (TPB) as its theoretical framework. Methods The population of the study consisted of U.S. microbrewery consumers who were 21 years old or older. The study featured a series of semi-structured, in-depth interviews which were audio recorded. The interview questions included the (a) advantages and disadvantages, (b) supportive and non-supportive entities, and (c) facilitators and barriers of visiting microbreweries. Participants were also asked probing questions that lead to a deeper understanding of their beliefs. The audio-recorded interviews were then transcribed and underwent a content analysis using Nvivo 11, a qualitative software. Data was coded based on the TPB model and additional surfacing themes. Results Several themes emerged from the in-depth interviews. For example, consumers specified that the products (e.g. quality, variety, inventory), and support of local businesses and communities were key advantages of visiting microbreweries. It was also found that friends and family were the most commonly mentioned supportive and, in some cases, unsupportive groups in a microbrewery consumers life. Finally, when considering the barriers and facilitators of visiting microbreweries, consumers stressed the importance of transportation and location. Implications This study successfully applied the TPB framework to the microbrewery context, and identified the most salient underlying beliefs of microbrewery consumers. Therefore, it provides useful information for microbrewery owners/operators which will help them better serve their patrons. In addition to practical implications, it also provides a measurement instrument as a basis for future quantitative research.

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