Brewing Heritage: Issues in the Management of Corporate Heritage in the Brewing Industry in Britain
It has been suggested that the commercial aspects of the museum business are coming to dominate how ‘the past’ is presented. (Lumley R (ed). The museum time machine: putting cultures on display. Routledge, London, 1988; Cameron CM. Emergent industrial heritage: the politics of selection. Mus Anthropol 23(3):58–73, 2000). Within the context of corporate museums and visitor centres, this trend may be particularly intense, with the past being constructed with specific reference to present commercial interests and activities.
Drawing from recent research conducted in the British brewing industry, this paper examines strategies in the management of company heritage in the wake of changing patterns of corporate ownership and brand management which are becoming increasingly global in scope. In such an environment, company heritage may be either preserved, completely dispensed with or, as demonstrated with reference to the transition from the Bass Visitor Centre to the Coors Visitor Centre in Burton upon Trent, radically reconstructed in ways which, whilst harmonising the presentation of the past with the commercial conditions of the present, threaten local and regional identities articulated in terms of local industrial heritage.
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