US Craft Brewery Owners’ Environmental Values, Involvement and Motivations Behind Environmentally Sustainable Practices and the Effect of Business Challenges
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management
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In 2018, 7,450 craft breweries across the US produced 25.9 million barrels of beer as part of an industry worth a cumulative $27.6 million and which employs over 456,000 workers. Craft brewery owners across the US have endeavored to optimize the efficiency of the brewing process in order to fulfil their twin goals of improving the quality of the product and boosting profits. In recent years, there has been a marked shift towards a tertiary goal of reducing the carbon footprint of an industry which uses significant amounts of water and energy through the implementation of sustainable practices. The objectives of this dissertation are to investigate the role which the environmental values of US craft brewery owners play in their involvement in environmental practices and the environmental performance of the brewery as a whole. It also examined the concurrent impact that business challenges have on environmental performance. To achieve these objectives, the dissertation takes the form of three independent articles which answer six research questions via both qualitative and quantitative methods. The first article reports on the integrated findings of an exploratory sequential mixed methods research design which aimed to identify the full scope of sustainable practices available to the US craft brewing industry as well as quantifying how many of those practices are actually being implemented within the breweries. Areas of concern which were repeatedly identified by the brewers included energy efficiency, involvement with the local community, paper and plastic recycling, repurposing used items, reusing spent grain, using recycled materials and conserving water. The second article aims to identify the factors which influence craft brewery owners’ involvement in environmental practices and efforts using an exploratory sequential mixed methods research design. The conclusions reached by this study are in agreement with those of pre-existing literature which encompasses similar themes, such as owners’ environmental involvement, regulations, financial consideration, community, employee involvement, and competition, albeit in a broader business sense. The third article uses an online questionnaire to collect data pertaining to the environmental values of US craft brewery owners, the effect of those values on their breweries’ environmental performance and the moderating impact of business challenges between the owners’ environmental involvement and their breweries’ environmental performance. The article uses structural equation modeling to detect and examine hypothetical relationships among these aforementioned factors. Implications, limitations and future research is discussed for each individual study.