July 24, 2009 A fully functioning micro-brewery is to be built at The University of Nottingham. The facility will enhance its world leading teaching and research in brewing science.
The £2 million state-of-the-art brewing research facility is being built and operated by SABMiller — one of the world’s largest brewing companies. It will be used to research new technologies for the brewing industry aimed at reducing the amount of energy required in the production process by optimising the fermentation process while maintaining beer quality.
The 1000 litre plant, located in the School of Biosciences at Sutton Bonington, will be one of the largest micro-breweries at any university in the world and is due to open its doors in 2011. The facility will be used to deliver courses to train brewers in the production of beer and deliver the University’s flagship masters degree in brewing science. It will be used by SABMiller and the University to develop and rigorously test new technologies and processes to enhance beer quality and shelf life, while improving the sustainability of brewing.
Katherine Smart, SABMiller Professor of Brewing Science, said: “Having monitored full scale processes we have identified areas where improvements could be made. Our research in the lab has been really exciting, but to succeed in developing new technologies it’s essential to have access to this kind this kind of facility so that our ideas can be tested at a suitable scale. It will be just like walking into a small brewery with its stainless steel plant and its own packaging line. We will be able to develop sustainable brewing processes and beer produced at the plant can even be put through our sensory panel — a group of individuals who have been specially trained to taste the 90 different flavour characteristics in beer.”
Brewing is a key contributor to the East Midlands economy which boasts some 78 small or medium sized micro-breweries and the facility will also be used to provide them with the very best facilities for training.
The University has several current brewing research programmes including those led by Professor Katherine Smart and Professor Chris Boulton in yeast and fermentation; Dr Joanne Hort, a lecturer in sensory science and a member of the University’s Flavour Research Group; and Dr David Cook a lecturer in brewing science who studies development of flavour during the malting process.
In collaboration with experts from the University’s Faculties of Science and Engineering a series of novel technologies will be developed to optimise the brewing process.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway, said: “This is a very exciting development for The University of Nottingham, and further strengthens our partnership with SABMiller. The construction of a state-of-the-art brewing facility will put us in the forefront of brewing research in this country and open up unrivalled opportunities for teaching and research both from within the university and with industrial partners.”
SABMiller’s Group Chief Brewer, Professor Barry Axcell said: “It made complete sense to build the pilot brewery alongside The University of Nottingham existing brewing facilities. We work very closely with Professor Smart and her team and this will allow for greater synergies in our research.”
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