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What is dead may never die: institutional regeneration through logic reemergence in Dutch beer brewing

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Kroezen, JJ 
Heugens, PPMAR 


Through an in-depth, historically embedded study of the craft revolution in Dutch beer brewing that began in the 1970s, we illuminate how organizational fields may experience regenerative change through the reemergence of traditional arrangements. The remarkable resurgence of craft in this context, following the rapid industrialization of the twentieth century that left only industrially produced pilsner in its wake, serves as the basis of our process theory of regenerative institutional change through logic reemergence. The results of our qualitative analysis show that institutional logics that appear dead or decomposed may never truly die, as they leave remnants behind that field actors can rediscover, repurpose, and reuse at later stages. We show how, in the Netherlands, networks of individuals that had access to the remnants of craft brewing were regenerated, in part fueled by increasing exposure to British, Belgian, and German craft brewing, and how these networks ultimately succeeded in reviving traditional prescriptions for beer and brewing, as well as restoring previously abandoned brewery forms and technologies and beer styles. These activities led not only to a sudden proliferation of alternatives to the dominant industrial pilsner but also to fundamental changes in the meaning and organization of beer brewing, as they were associated with the reinvigoration of institutional orders that preceded those of the corporation and the market. Yet we also observe how, on the ground, remnants of traditional craft often needed to be blended with contemporaneous elements from modern industrialism, as well as foreign representations of craft, to facilitate reemergence. We thus argue that regenerative institutional change likely resembles a dualistic process of restoration and transformation.



regenerative change, institutional logics, reemergence, craft, tradition, institutional remnants, Dutch craft beer brewing

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Administrative Science Quarterly

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Cornell University Press