An Examination on Boutique Beer and Beer in Gastronomic Tourism

Gastronomy Tourism

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Translation by SEMERCI, Görkem & OCAKKUCUK, Abdullah


The reasons for consumers to travel are frequently formed by an entertaining event, hobby, adventure, dynamism, and resting along with the search of unfamiliar, unknown, and unusual things. Tourism is a huge sector with a wide range of interests which includes the events and relationships related to the purchase of the services and goods needed at the destination by individuals traveling without settling in the place they go for various reasons such as holiday, entertainment, health, sports, religious and cultural visit (

Although the sea, sun, and sun trio are the first things that come to mind when we hear the word ‘tourism’, it is possible to mention many other touristic activities that make up the travel motivations for tourists. While health, thermal, winter, spa, adventure, religion, history, and ecotourism are only some examples of these activities, food & beverage and gastronomy are also some of the most popular areas of interest in tourism (;

Due to increasing interest in gastronomic tourism regarding the development of food and beverage cultures in different countries and regions, food & beverage tourism is gaining popularity all over the world, and gastronomy tourism is becoming an independent product within the tourism sector. While gastronomy covers the production of foods and beverages as well as understanding how, where, when and why they are consumed; it also focuses on the search for unique and unforgettable eating and drinking experiences; traveling to places where local food and drinks are motivating factors for tourism (Gillespie, 2001; Bujdoso and Szűcs, 2012, p. 104). According to Wolf (2006), gastronomy tourism is defined as traveling in search of enjoyment of food, beverage, and other related activities.

Gastronomy tourism offers a wide range of options for tourists, particularly through the countries with an abounding food and beverage culture and have attracting places to visit. Some examples, such as festivals, food organizations, gastronomy museums, thematic excursions, restaurants, local diners, pubs, gastronomic places, and so on, can be approached within gastronomy tourism (Bujdoso and Szűcs, 2012, p. 103).

Gastronomy tourism is gradually becoming an important part of the cultural tourism market. Tourists have more authentic and unique experiences while getting closer to hosting culture through local food and beverage. MacDonald and Deneault (2001, p. 13) vindicate that gastronomy tourists are expecting to discover themselves by experiencing authentic and engaging experiences with local cuisine and people they meet in places they visit. Destinations are continuously trying to include local food and beverage in tourism products (Telfer and Hashimoto, 2002). The sale of those products helps to develop the identity of the destination. For instance, Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) indicates that tourism and cuisine play a role in validating Canadian identity and cultural development while developing culinary tourism is becoming a more important component within the cultural tourism market (CTC, 2001). Some of the existing gastronomic tourism activities listed by CTC as; agricultural tourism activities, cooking courses and schools, local restaurants, farm stays and markets, cheese factories, wine, and beer routes (Plummer et al, 2005, p. 447). 

(Shaun Tam)

Gastronomy tourism forms a travel motivation for tourists with beverages as much as the food. Beverage tourism can be defined as traveling to experience and enjoy a particular type of beverage for a tourist (Plummer et al, 2005). When we consider important beverages in gastronomic tourism, wine is most likely to be the first thing that comes to our minds. Wine tourism is a leading type of beverage tourism in the literature and most of the researches that link beverage to tourism is based on wine (Getz, 2002; Plummer et al, 2005; Getz and Brown, 2006). Whiskey, tea, sake, and beer are also approached as other types of beverage tourism in the literature (Alonso, 2011; Jolliffe and Aslam, 2009; Spracklen, 2011). Although a large number of researches analyze wine tourism, there are also limited studies focusing on other kinds of beverage tourism such as beer, which has high consumption and popularity.

Beer is the third most popular beverage in the world after water and tea and the most popular beverage among alcoholic beverages while its production volume of 1.3 billion hectoliters in 2018 and the sector volume of $661 billion in 2016 support this statistic ( At this point, when considering the country with the highest consumption of beer Czechia comes first with 142.6 liters which are followed by Seychelles (114.6 liters), Austria (104.8 liters), and Germany (104.7 liters) ( Apart from that, most preferred beer brands around the world are listed below; 

  1. Snow (10.1 billion liters)
  2. Budweiser (4.9 billion liters)
  3. Tsingtao (4.9 billion liters)
  4. Bud Light (4.5 billion liters)
  5. Skol (3.5 billion liters)
  6. Heineken (3.4 billion liters)
  7. Harbin (3 billion liters)
  8. Yanjing (2.97 billion liters)
  9. Corona (2.88 billion liters)
  10. Coors (2.65 billion liters)

Based on these data, beer tourism can be defined as the type of tourism with the travel motivation of visiting the region and facilities where beer is produced while observing the process, tasting, and participating in activities such as festivals.

Beer tourism is an increasingly growing sector, and more and more companies, especially in Europe, offer excursions to craft beer production centers. Besides, almost all countries that have a share in beer tourism have local beer associations. These associations can provide information about the special beers and places to visit. For these reasons, beer tourism has become quite popular in special interest tourism, especially for specific target groups (Bujdoso and Szűcs, 2012, p. 104).

Beer tourism can be considered in two groups. In the first case, beer is the primary source of motivation for the tourist and the goal is to consume the preferred type of beer in a selected environment. On the other hand, the motivation may also be due to other factors, such as visits by tourists as a result of their interest in a place that may be related to beer or beer consumption rather than beer tasting (Bujdoso and Szűcs, 2012, p. 105).


   Diagram 1: Beer as primary travel motivation and places related to beer;

(Source: Bujdoso ve Szűcs, 2012, p. 105)

Craft beers are the primary motivators in beer tourism. Craft beer can be identified as beers produced by small manufacturers that contain local flavors and are produced without automation. According to the Brewers Association in the US, beer producers must meet some basic criteria for the produced beer to be considered craft beer. Foremost among them are; producing less than 6 million barrels per year by a small and unaffiliated brewer; not more than 25% of the shares may be owned by a non-boutique brewer; the manufacturer’s products reflect local tastes; being supported by philanthropic efforts and the production of beers using traditional methods or innovative techniques and materials without automation (Brewers Association, 2019).   


North America is the most popular region of craft beer, which emerged in the “American Beer Revolution” in the 1980s and spread rapidly around the world. United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Greece are among the leading countries in terms of boutique beer diversity in Europe Ipourlt, one of North America’s leading beer dispensaries and serving close to 1.5 million liters of beer with 14,100 different varieties from 2450 manufacturers per year, lists the top 10 of the most preferred boutique beers in 2018. Beers are as follow (;

  1. Firestone Walker 805
  2. Blue Moon Belgian White
  3. Narragansett Brewing Narragansett Lager
  4. Lost Coast Brewery Tangerine Wheat
  5. Station 26 Brewery Juicy Banger
  6. Allagash Brewing White
  7. Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing
  8. 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
  9. Station 20 Brewing Cream Ale
  10. BarrelHouse Brewing Mango IPA


Conclusion and Evaluation

Even though wine tourism comes to mind first when it comes to beverage tourism, beer tourism and boutique brewery have become important factors in creating travel motivation. Beer is important in gastronomy tourism besides wine, cheese, and chocolate, as stated in the Gastronomy Tourism Report prepared by the Turkish Association of Travel Agencies (TURSAB). Excursions held in countries such as Canada, America, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the homes or businesses of beer producers, beer tasting workshops, beer-themed restaurants, museums and exhibitions for beer and other related products continue to attract many tourists as well as beer festivals ( At this point, supporting the production of craft beer, creating beer routes and tours, giving more opportunities to boutique beer producers in food and beverage festivals, organizing touristic workshop activities for various manufacturers along with beer-themed restaurants and pubs can play an important role for the development and increase of income in this industry. By this means, beer tourism can be developed and recognized within the scope of gastronomy tourism in other regions, especially in the leading countries, while travel motivation to the destination can be increased thanks to the tourists that call themselves; beer lovers.




Alonso, A.D. (2011). Opportunities and challenges in the development of micro-brewing and beer tourism: A preliminary study from Alabama. Tourism Planning and Development, 8(4), 415–431.

Bujdosó, Z., & Szűcs, C. (2012). Beer tourism–from theory to practice. Academica Turistica, 5(1), 103-111.

Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) (2001). Statement of Objectives: National Tourism & Cuisine Forum, July 2001.

Gillespie, C. (2001). European Gastronomy into the 21st Century. London: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Getz, D. (2002). Explore wine tourism: Management, development & destinations. New York: Cognizant Communication Corporation.

Getz, D., & Brown, G. (2006). Critical success factors for wine tourism regions: a demand analysis. Tourism Management, 27(1), 146-158.

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MacDonald, H., & Deneault, M. (2001). National tourism & cuisine forum: ‘‘Recipes for success’’. Ottawa: Canadian Tourism Commission.

Plummer, R., Telfer, D., Hashimoto, A., & Summers, R. (2005). Beer tourism in Canada along the Waterloo–Wellington ale trail. Tourism Management, 26(3), 447-458.

Spracklen, K. (2011). Dreaming of drams: Authenticity in Scottish whiskey tourism as an expression of unresolved Habermasian rationalities. Leisure Studies, 30, 99–116.

Telfer, D., & Hashimoto, A. (2002). Imaging, innovation, and partnership in culinary tourism in the Niagara Region. In E. Arola, J. K.arkk.ainen, & M. Siitari (Eds.) Tourism and well-being. The 2nd Tourism Industry and Education Symposium, May 16 –18, 2002 (pp. 445–452). Finland: Jyv.askyl.a Polytechnic.

Wolf, E. (2006). Culinary tourism: The hidden harvest. New York: Kendall/Hunt Publishing. 


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