The craft beer complex: A study of lifestyle, locality, and consumption situations in Oklahoma

Date
2017-05
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Abstract

This research analyzes the lifestyles of craft beer consumers in the South/Midwest United States and how the lifestyles relate to consumers’ purchasing decisions for locally produced craft beer and consumption behavior based on the occasion situation. The data were collected via an electronic survey that was designed to enable the researchers to fulfil the purpose of the study, namely to - a) develop a demographic and lifestyle profile of craft beer consumers b) determine what consumers view as a locally brewed craft beer; and c) compare the consumption and purchasing motivations of the different lifestyle groups. This study utilized a sample of 207 craft beer consumers attending the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival. The attendees were asked to complete an offline electronic questionnaire offered to them on tablets. Based on the exploratory factor analysis and a k-means cluster analysis of different lifestyles that the respondents mostly associated themselves with, they were split into five lifestyle clusters - Conservatives, Adventurers, Tradesmen, Learners, and Stabilizers. The lifestyle clusters were then analyzed using cross-tabulation and ANOVA analysis to determine similarities and differences. Along with this the overall sample was examined to determine what the consumers viewed as a locally brewed craft beer. Over half of the sample was comprised of roughly 60% males, was predominately Caucasian, typically younger (64.3% below the age of 40), highly educated, and earned higher annual incomes. The most predominant lifestyle, among craft beer consumers, were the Adventurers, with the least represented lifestyle being the Tradesmen. The Learners and Conservatives were both represented about equally, while the Stabilizers comprised approximately a quarter of the sample. The results showed that the majority of consumers considered a craft beer that was produced in the same state and/or within approximately 140 miles from the consumption point to be a locally brewed. Overall, consumers indicated that the most important motivators for purchasing craft beer were the desire to try something new, the desire to try something local, and feeling like they were supporting the local economy. A closer look at the lifestyle clusters showed that Stabilizers viewed the majority of motivators for purchasing local craft beer less important that the other clusters, while the Adventurers typically viewed the motivators as more important. The higher educated clusters (Learners and Adventurers) were more prone to purchase local craft beer because it supported the local economy, and they believed it was better for the environment, while the lower educated clusters (Stabilizers and Tradesmen) viewed these reasons as unimportant. While all clusters indicated that they would choose craft beer in the majority of consumption occasions, there were some differences in overall preferences for alcoholic beverages. Conservatives preferred wine more than the other clusters; Adventurers preferred liquor more than the other clusters; Tradesmen preferred traditional beer more than the other clusters; and the Learners were the most prone to drink craft beer. Breweries and other industry professionals might use these results by focusing on the Adventurers as their target market, since they are the largest represented lifestyle cluster, and they place the most importance on locally produced purchasing motivators. The industry could also focus on advertising to higher educated individuals, as this study demonstrated a positive relationship between higher educated consumers and their preference for craft beer consumption. The current research also adds to the academic literature through the findings that craft beer contributes to an individual’s sense of place, with the predominant view being that craft beer is a local product, even when the agricultural aspect of its production is not considered. Additionally, a large portion of the sample felt they were supporting the local economy and wanted to try something local when making their purchasing decision.

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Keywords
Craft beer, Consumer behavior, Lifestyle, Locality
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