Why the microbrewery movement? Organizational dynamics of resource partitioning in the U.S. brewing industry

Why the microbrewery movement? Organizational dynamics of resource partitioning in the U.S. brewing industry

By
Glenn R. Carroll, Anand Swaminathan
American Journal of Sociology.
2000, Vol. 106, Issue 3, Pages 715-62

The number of small specialty brewers in the U.S. beer brewing industry has increased dramatically in recent decades, even as the market for beer became increasingly dominated by mass-production brewing companies. Using the resource-partitioning model of organizational ecology, this article shows that these two apparently contradictory trends are fundamentally interrelated. Hypotheses developed here refine the way scale competition among generalist organizations is modeled and improve the theoretical development of the sociological bases for the appeal of specialist organizations’ products, especially those related to organizational identity. Evidence drawn from qualitative and quantitative research provides strong support for the theory. The article offers a brief discussion of the theoretical and substantive issues involved in application of the model to other industries and to other cultures.