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Place Representations in Craft Beer

Nothing soothes the soul like a chilled fizzy mug of beer after a long day of work. The bubbly and refreshing beverage is also a staple of many cultures around the world. Craft Beer, as the name suggests, refers to independently made brews that are free from additives, chemicals, and preservatives. The brews are also usually not filtered or pasteurized, which gives the beverage a rich and distinct flavor.

While the brews are often small-scale in production, they have gained immense popularity among consumers in recent years. The craft brewery movement is a global phenomenon and a growing industry. There were 9,500 breweries in the United States as of 2021 and openings have outpaced closings, according to the Brewers Association. In fact, the association says most Americans live within 10 miles of an independent brewer.

The growth of the brewing industry has not come without challenges, including rising competition from macro breweries and ready-to-drink canned cocktails. A fierce battle is raging over the definition of what constitutes a craft brewer, with veterans of the movement arguing that a sale to a bigger brewing company means a departure from true craft beer.

This paper focuses on place representations in craft beer by analysing text and images on labels of 118 beers from Wales and Brittany. It is the first to employ a cross-comparative methodology in this field and argues that terroir in craft beer is valuable for local economies because it provides consumers with distinctive resources of place. The paper also demonstrates that the high content of polyphenolic compounds (PCs) in craft beers and their effect on gut microbiota may offer health benefits.

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