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Enthusiasm, craft and authenticity on the High Street: micropubs as ‘community fixers’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-784
Number of pages22
JournalSocial & Cultural Geography
Volume20
Issue number6
Early online date20 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2019

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Abstract

The retail recession has left a legacy of vacant shops on many shopping streets, with closures having significant consequences for local populations. But several new ‘pop-up’ formats are bucking this trend by bringing community-oriented forms of consumption back to the High Street. The micropub is a notable example, a small-scale venue selling real ale that has taken over a vacant shop premise, usually in smaller and struggling town centres. The rapid take-up of the micropub concept has attracted considerable attention, suggesting a model for retail regeneration based on community-mindedness and a close relationship between owner and customer. Based on ethnographic research in micropubs, alongside interviews with landlords, this paper suggests that their success is dependent upon the enthusiasm of landlords and customers alike, with such ‘cultures of enthusiasm’ encouraged via the nostalgic motifs of craft, tradition and Britishness that inform the curation of these seemingly ‘authentic’ spaces. The paper concludes that the micropub offers a form of socially-connective consumption highly valued by some, but stresses that there are clear limits to the ability of such spaces to be ‘community fixers’ given enthusiasm for real ale remains a distinctly white, male, and middle-aged pursuit.

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