The Relationship Between Craft Breweries and Rural Tourism: Case of Ontario

Publication Date

Winter 9-30-2016

Document Type

Student Poster Presentation


My proposed research fits well with the theme of this year’s conference. The proposed research will explore craft breweries acting as the catalyst for rural tourism development. The findings will explore the possibility of using the consumer’s interest in visiting craft breweries to develop rural areas as tourism destinations. The research will focus on the partnerships made between the breweries and tourism/hospitality operators in the area as well as address the community member’s perceptions of the breweries. The researcher is interested in the neolocalism involved in the operation and branding of craft breweries and how it is used to promote tourism. Guided tours of the breweries’ facilities give the consumers a “behind the scenes” experience that is expected to strengthen the bond between the consumer and the brewery. The researcher believes that these bonds can be extended into the region that the brewery operates in. These extended bonds can be made through place branding and/or community partnerships.


As the number of craft breweries rise in Ontario, there becomes a need to explore how the breweries can harness the growing interest in craft beer and transform the attention into tourism dollars for themselves and their community. A number of researchers have noted the lack of research regarding the potential of beer tourism (Kraftchick, Byrd, Canziani, & Harlow, 2014; Rogerson, 2014; Plummer, Telfer, Hashimoto, & Summers, 2005; Murray and Kline, 2015). The proposed research will explore craft breweries acting as the catalyst for rural tourism development. Mitchell and Vanderwerf’s (2010) case study revealed that Creemore Spring’s Brewery was a catalyst for tourism development in the village of Creemore. Themes of partnerships, strategic alliances and neo-localism will be addressed. The purpose of this case study will be to explore the relationship between craft breweries and tourism in rural Ontario. For the sake of this study craft brewery tourism will be generally defined as “visitation to breweries, beer festivals and beer shows for which tasting and experiencing the attributes of beer region are the prime motivating factors for visitors.” (Plummer, Telfer, Hashimoto, & Summers, 2005, p. 449) The research objectives include identifying the extent to which craft breweries consider tourism benefits in their operating decisions, determining if efforts have been taken to promote tourism, assess the impacts of craft breweries on tourism destinations and provide recommendations to communities and craft breweries. The research will involve a survey distributed to all the members of the Ontario Craft Brewers, semi-structured interviews with brewery owners and semi-structured interviews with various tourism stakeholders from the community. Using the findings, rural craft breweries would be able to compare their current tourism practices, if any, to the tourism practices of other breweries. Hospitality and tourism businesses in the regions can begin to reassess their relationships, if any, with the breweries.

Kraftchick, J.F., Byrd, E.T., Canziani, B. and Harlow, N.J. (2014) Understanding Beer Tourist Motivation. Tourism Managememtn Perspectives, 12, 41-47.

Mitchell, C., and Vanderwerf, J. (2010) Creative Destruction and Trial by Space in a Historic Canadian Village. The Geographical Review, 3, 356-374.

Murray, A., and Kline, C. (2015) Rural Tourism and the Craft Beer Experience: Factors Influencing Brand Loyalty in Rural North Carolina, USA. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23(8-9), 1198-1216.

Plummer, R., Telfer, D., Hashimoto, A. and Summers, R. (2005) Beer tourism in Canada along the Waterloo-Wellington Ale Trail. Tourism Management, 26, 447–58.

Rogerson, C.M. (2015) Developing Beer Tourism In South Africa: International Perspectives. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure. 4(1), 1-15.

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