On the bottle: situating place-based discourses in global production networks – a visual and textual analysis of craft beer labels
Place remains a critical concept within globalization processes, often communicated via packaging, design, and branding. This article uses grounded theory methodology to develop a theory of Place-Based Discourses (PBDs) based on a dataset of beer labels collected, coded, memoed and analyzed between 2011–2019. I argue that the beer label incorporates all three elements and presents a primary site for studying value addition, providing a ready space for producers to introduce national motifs, such as flags and tartans in the case of Scotch Ales, or depictions of local working landscapes to connote ecological, social, and economic connections to place. Drawing on extant literature on conceptualizations of place within the Global Production Networks perspective (GPNs), this paper contributes to debates about food and drink branding and globalization by generating new ways of examining the sites and processes of representation of place within cultural-material hybrids (such as beer labels) imbricated through globalization mechanisms. I interpret three constituent themes which emerged during the theorization of PBDs – historical imagination and local identity, thin place and thick networks, and performative globalizations – and I argue that this approach provides an important contribution to the geographies of globalization, linking cultural analysis of branding and place to the GPN tradition. Future studies can apply this knowledge to move towards an understanding of other place-based sites and processes within GPNs, with specific research attention directed towards how PBDs can “reveal and rebalance” power structures vis-à-vis the place dimensions of globalization.