Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Daniel H. Lende, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Timothy Malefyt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andre Maciel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kevin A. Yelvington, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rebecca K. Zarger, Ph.D.


Consumption, Craft commodities, Experience, Production, Senses, Skill


This dissertation explores the construction of a local craft beer scene, from perspectives and behaviors of both producers and consumers. It is situated within the Greater Tampa Bay area, and as such offers an ethnographic account of this phenomenon at a community level. Participant observation across a wide range of spaces and events across several years were combined with semi-structured interviews from 27 consumers and 17 producers in the local area to investigate how the scene is constructed and maintained and what consumers do within it. These ethnographic insights were combined with the results of structured methods, such as: freelisting (41 participants) and an open pilesort (31 participants), to further contextualize certain aspects or behaviors.

Producers generally organize around groups (or potentially even other breweries) meant to represent their collective interests. This allows for creating a larger field that can thwart attacks from outside groups with competing interests (e.g. large multinational breweries). It also fosters a collaborative spirit that can be harnessed to grow the craft beer brand and therefore increase the number of pathways leading into a scene.

Consumers often initially engage with the scene due to craft beer’s alignment with things like the Buy Local and Slow Food movements, but can find interest in specific activities, such as homebrewing or collecting, within the scene that may require developing certain skills for full participation. Consumers may also reject the inclusion of certain breweries or gain access to spaces or events not open to the public, which reflect the pathways they use to engage with the scene. Developing certain skills allows for consumers to transition from experiencing spaces within the scene (e.g. breweries) to experiencing the individual beer being produced. They often develop language skills in parallel so that they can articulate what they are experiencing, and potentially differentiate it from other experiences