Scholarly Publications


The Value of a Pint: American Beer, Cultural Change, and the Stubborn Materiality of Contemporary Capitalism

Date of Publication: Forthcoming
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

The Value of a Pint tells the story of change in the American brewing industry from its rebirth after federal Prohibition to the contemporary explosion of craft beer.  The Value of a Pint examples a series of formative snapshots–crises and turns in the trajectory of one of the nation’s most ubiquitous food commodities–and traces their connection to broader cultural movements, practices and social identities. Researched and written in the tradition of interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, the book argues that the evolution of the U.S. brewing industry, American beer, and American beer drinking demonstrate how profoundly inseparable the cultural and the economic are, despite our collective compulsion to hold these two domains of human experience to be mutually exclusive.  In making this argument, The Value of a Pint advances a theory of culturally embedded valuation.

Entrepreneurial Leisure and the Microbrew Revolution: The Neoliberal Origins of the Craft Beer Movement

Publication: Untapped: Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer
Date of Publication: May 2017
Publisher: University of West Virginia Press

Though indicative of a significant rupture in the status quo of the American brewing industry, the microbrew revolution (understood here as the opening overture or precursor to the contemporary craft beer movement) was at least in part an extension of expanding laissez-faire, neoliberal economic policy and a valorization of leisure-born entrepreneurship in American culture.

This chapter will explore how the microbrew revolution was enacted within the frame of neoliberalism, not as an overarching economic philosophy of privatization and free market trade, but as a set of individual cultural practices that rely upon a slippage between the meanings of work and leisure. Specifically, it examines the cultural function of the microbrew revolution’s origin stories—how the trope of the microbrewing entrepreneur has given shape to a set of valued cultural-economic practices that have influenced the trajectory of the craft brewing industry, established the ethos of craft brewing as a cultural movement, and largely obscured the role of social privilege in rendering communities of craft brewers and drinkers that are socioculturally

Drinking Local: Sustainable Brewing, Alternative Food Networks, and the Politics of Valuation

Publication: Food and Everyday Life
Date of Publication: February 2014
Publisher: Lexington Books

Regional American breweries and local brewpubs, enjoying a firmly established and currently flourishing market for craft beers, have made an observable return to “the local” as both a scope of economic practice and an ethic of community engagement. As champions of the local, many small breweries and brewpubs have aligned themselves with the proliferating discourses of sustainability that animate a number of varyingly efficacious politicizations of the local, including the slow food movement, the organization of farmers’ markets and community gardens, green business practices, and the drive to shorten commodity chains. These practices are often united under the rubric of Alternative Food Networks, which themselves are part of larger discourses on alternative or non-capitalist economies. This chapter analyzes the “green” rhetorics and affectivities deployed in the institutional discourses of small-scale brewing operations in the US.   Specifically, the chapter examines the articulation of institutional messaging, product packaging, advertising, and brewery architecture and decoration to the opening up of local economic markets and practices.

Food and Drink: Engaging the Logics of New Mediation

Publication: Explorations in Media Ecology, Volume 10
Date of Publication: 2012

This article draws on the belief that the contemporary conjuncture is in part defined in relationship to emerging new media, to pursue the thesis that logics of new mediation should not be selectively “discovered” in proximity to the digital and digitizing objects that are traditionally called new media technologies. Such logics are culturally pervasive and the implications of these logics extend to changing interactions with nondigital technologies that do not often, if ever, qualify as new media. If the logics of new mediation do underwrite our contemporary cultural condition, they have done work to redefine the relations that construct the contexts of life. These contexts include digital and mechanical technologies, but also the varied products of human intervention – including the production, distribution, consumption, and formation of discourse about food and drink.