Craft drinks tourism worldwide and in Northern Ireland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Given that 100% of visitors must eat, it is surprising that academic interest in food & wine tourism is relatively recent (substantial research started to appear from the end of the 1990s) (Wolf 2015). One does not even need to travel exclusively in search of culinary experiences to be considered a food tourist; ‘opportunistic’ food tourists may look for food and drink experiences at a destination that they have selected primarily for other reasons and ‘accidental’ food tourists may participate in a food or drink festival just because they happen to be in a certain location at a certain time (Yeoman et al. 2015). The tremendous growth of eno-gastronomic tourism in the last two decades, however, can be explained in terms of the potential that local food and drink have to help differentiate destinations by developing a ‘sense of place’, which offers a unique visitor experience, but at the same time, provides economic benefits to local communities (Haven-Tang and Jones 2005). One global manifestation of the shift in visitors’ interest from globalized and standardized products and services towards niche products and services is the surge in demand for craft-based products which is a wider movement in which people demand goods and services that have a connection with the ‘local’ (Rogerson 2016). Place-based gastronomic tourism can focus on a diverse range of products including regional cuisine, wine, beer, cider, spirits such as gin and whiskey, tea and coffee. While a substantial amount of research has been conducted on oenotourism, there appears to be scant research on the tourism generated by other alcoholic beverages (Cloutier et al. 2016) and particularly craft or artisan alcoholic beverages. In order to address this gap in the literature, this chapter investigates the increasing popularity of craft drinks tourism (beer, cider and gin) worldwide and, more specifically, in Northern Ireland, a destination where out-of-state visitors spend over a third of their money on food and drink (NITB 2009 cited by NITB 2012) and where pubs are the top visitor attraction (NITB 2012). The findings of the investigation revealed that tourists are thirsty for craft beer, cider and gin in Northern Ireland, that craft drinks tourism provides local communities and entrepreneurs with economic as well as socio-cultural benefits, and that craft drinks contribute to provide that all important authentic experience that ‘the new tourist’ (Poon 1993) is after.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Gastronomic Tourism
EditorsSaurabh Kumar Dixit
Place of PublicationOxon and New York
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-14762-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-55155-8
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 20 Feb 2019


  • Gastronomic Tourism
  • Craft Drinks
  • Northern Ireland


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