Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Marcel Zondag

Second Advisor

Bruce Ferrin

Third Advisor

Frank Gambino


The differences between the on-premise and off-premise craft beer experience was researched in this study. The original research question was whether there is a relationship between on-premise and off-premise sales of craft beer. After initial research through semi- structured interviews the research questions were revised to three related questions: 1. What are the on-premise and off-premise craft beer experiences?, 2. Is there a significant difference?, and 3. Does the one behavior affect the other in purchasing behavior? Participants included 12 consumers of craft beer ranging from individuals with extensive craft beer experience to relative newcomers to the craft beer segment. A variety of industry managers were also interviewed, including representatives from craft brewers, managers from beer distribution firms, a merchandising manager from a regional grocery chain, as well as two managers from a market research and market data provider. The main focus of the semi- structured interviews was to understand the participant’s experiences, attitudes, and opinions about craft beer. Data collection and analysis was based on Grounded Theory research tradition. Interviews were transcribed and coded for analysis. Through this analysis it was found there were three segments of craft beer consumers: the novice, the experimenter, and the connoisseur. Beyond this, there were five core themes that were found across all segments both on-premise and off-premise: taste, taste development, brand loyalty, occasion, and price. We concluded that craft beer is a high-involvement product. Experiential consumption provides a fitting theoretical framework to understand consumers’ craft beer experience. Furthermore, data showed that the on-premise experience does not translate to the retail shelf. This is further complicated by the complexity of the craft beer segment. On-premise selection and experimentation is experienced as a lower risk choice with less commitment than off-premise purchase. There is opportunity for in-store consumer education and there remains an acute need for shopper marketing outside and inside the store.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

FINAL Thesis Defense.pdf (2604 kB)
Defense Presentation

Included in

Marketing Commons