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The potential for micro craft beer brewers in KZN to boost local economic development.

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This dissertation seeks to give insights and a deeper understanding of the economic and social impacts of micro craft beer breweries in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) through the understanding of the lived experiences of microbreweries of craft beer. This study is part of a broader investigation that examines contemporary issues in the burgeoning craft brewing industry in KZN. Furthermore, it aims to contribute to the rather limited body of knowledge, as a source of evidence on how micro craft beer breweries can be aligned by local government as a driver for Local Economic Development (LED) policy and programmes in KZN. This study was exploratory research. Exploratory research is conducted to gain new insights, discover new ideas and/or increase knowledge of a phenomenon. This type of research design assumes that the true meaning of phenomena can be explored through the experience, as described by the individuals. The findings of this research will make strong contributions toward the improvement of the understanding of craft beer from a South African perspective and also what the costs and benefits of it in the microbrewery sector are – through understanding the lived experiences of participants. The craft beer revolution comes as a response to dismantling the homogenisation of the global beer industry. This study employs two theories – the resource partitioning theory and neo-localism. These theories underpin this study to further explain craft brewery’s contributions to LED. Resource-partitioning theory explains the rise of late-stage specialist segments within an industry as an (unexpected) outcome of the consolidation occurring among large generalist organisations as they compete for the largest consumer resource bases of the mass market. Scholars that study neo-localism interpret it as a desire among communities to embrace or reassert the uniqueness and authenticity of places or localities through what they offer. The literature and research that is the basis of this research also suggests that a number of government officials and local government are starting to acknowledge the presence and role played by culinary tourism in boosting the local economy and its capacity to enhance the sustainability of tourism development. The KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority and EDTEA KwaZulu-Natal have also started to embark on a journey to initiate critical policy changes regarding micro craft beer brewers as being a sector that plays a critical role in strengthening the regional and local identities that attract tourists through their strategic programmes like RASET, Operation Vula, and the black industrialists programme.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.