Beer tap
Dr Daniel Wade Clarke, BSc(Hons) Business Management Program Director, University of Dundee School of Business

Dr Daniel Wade Clarke, BSc(Hons) Business Management Program Director, University of Dundee School of Business.

September is the time of year for beer enthusiasts to attend Oktoberfest-inspired, München-styled beer festivals, such as the eighth Oktoberfest recently hosted by the Rotary Club of Dundee at Slessor Gardens. So, what do you get if you combine the two? What if we add velotourism + beer tourism?

For the keen cyclist who likes to quench their thirst with a beer during a good day’s riding, on their way to the next stopover, I would offer “velo-taproom-tourism” as an anytime activity. Who are these people and what are they looking for?

Velo-taproom-tourism is the name I’ve given to what happens when a love of cycling is combined with an appreciation for locally produced beer. After reading some of Thomas Thurnell-Reed’s* writing on ‘Bucketlist Tourism’, I was inspired to put together my own list of breweries, nearby to where I live and work, which, as a beer enthusiast, I ought to visit; I reached out to Tim Butler, Founder of St Andrews Brewing Co, to ask: “using only legwork, the national rail network and 48 hours, what local breweries would make it onto your list of ‘must visits’? Tim replied:

“Start at 71 Brewing in Dundee or Law Brewing, then Eden Mill (Leuchars) and St Andrews Brewing Co (St Andrews). Then head out to Anstruther, where there is the new Ovenstone 109 Brewery. After that, head out of Fife via Loch Leven or Beath Brewery and head to Edinburgh: Loanhead for Top Out and Stewart’s.”

Sitting in Duke's Corner, I added a few +s and set about concocting a ‘dream’ list. I put an ambitious two-day plan together I’m yet to peddle and quaff my way through…

As a lecturer in Research Methods (management & marketing) at the University of Dundee School of Business (UDSB), over the past few years, I have had the good fortune to supervise a number of students on ‘live’ case studies by responding to the many invitations I receive to work with SMEs by simply replying to the emails I receive from Interface with the subject line: “New Interface Expertise Search."

One of these projects involved working with an owner of a small croft who wanted to install glamping pods on her land. Located in a remote part of Scotland but situated near to the North Coast 500, a project was designed to help establish what features the pods should contain and to understand what it might be about the setting that NC500 tourists might eventually be attracted to and find appealing. The following affirmation was received in an email communication from the entrepreneur: “Thank you very much for the report, it is very interesting reading and has met the brief.  … It certainly has given me a much clearer direction and will be a real help in putting together a business plan.”

Two other projects I’ve worked on, one on the role of ‘authenticity’ in craft consumption and another on developing an ‘acceptable’ name for a new ‘zero-waste product’ made from unsold bread, have been with a Dundee-based brewery.

Elsewhere in the UDSB, in research using beer labels as a case in point, work by Dr Keith Dinnie is currently being carried out, examining the different levels of craft beer brand architecture reflected in the images, iconography and language found on labels. Beer + …, there might be something in this…

+ cycling…

Much loved and trusted local bike shops (LBSs), such as Synergy Cycles based in Auchterarder, Perthshire, are now offering guided cycling tours and, with minimum input, maximum personalization it is not unusual for David Hall, the experienced cycle guide at Synergy, to receive requests from corporate clients and stag/hen do planners for a fully MAPPED OUT bike ride taking in a distillery or two…

Thunder Island Brewery** in Cascade Locks Oregan, is an adventure-focused brewery, capturing recreational tourism on the Columbia River Gorge, USA. Situated on a historic highway that was redeveloped with cycle tourism in mind, the brewery founders want to become known as an ‘exceptional stop for cyclists’. Their hope is to make it a destination and serve the cyclists in a similar way to how much hospitality David Lipps, one of the co-founders of the brewery, has received during his own velotourism experiences. While initiatives like ‘design your stay’ by Scotland’s Tay Country are gaining traction, the bottom line for businesses like Synergy Cycles or Thunder Island Brewery is, as Lipps says, “if they can get on board now [before adventure tourism becomes even more popular], there is money in it for businesses."

For anybody who wants to make their business an exceptional stop along the way, this is where collaborations with students and researchers from a university might provide helpful input. Like Interface, with our very own business school-dedicated Employer Engagement Officer, Karen Smith (, the UDSB is always looking to how academic input can help businesses, particularly SMEs, develop new innovative services and products, or increase their productivity or save them money. So this is an invitation and a call to action: for businesses to get in touch to do a collaborative project.

On 12 December 2018, Dr Keith Dinnie will be hosting a “Strategic Development Impact Fund Knowledge Exchange Event” at the University of Dundee especially for craft drinks producers. Please contact for more details and to reserve a place.

Plenty of +s

Dundee recently witnessed the launch of its second paid-for ‘experience’ on Airbnb: Dundee Photo and Instagram Tour. For £20pp, Jack, your host, will take you on an exclusive photography and Instagram tour of Dundee, showing you all the best-hidden photo spots. Run the Sights, helping us ‘keep fit and see the sights’ offers 4-mile Prosecco Running Tours for visitors to Scottish cities and Secret London Runs offers themed ‘gin runs’ and ‘Craft Beers of the East End’ to locals and tourists in London. In Dundee, DDTours will design a bespoke ‘city walking tour’, ending at a craft drinks producer of your choice within the city…

What all these service innovations have in common is, by adding some +s into their thinking, these producers have been able to co-create and co-deliver new offerings and creative forms of value.

We’d be very keen to hear from any craft food and/or drinks producer/service provider also interested in wondering what might happen if we add some +s to (business) thinking…

If you would like to find out more about collaborative projects with academics please get in touch with Rachel Mirfattahi, Sector Engagement Executive at Interface (Food & Drink) or contact


*Thurnell-Read, T. (2017). ‘What’s on your Bucket List?’: Tourism, identity and imperative experiential discourse. Annals of Tourism Research, 67, 58-66.

**Bicycle Tourism Profile: Thunder Island Brewery

13 November 2018