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Brewing and Beer Brands Forum

On 08/05/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

The Worshipful Company of Brewers hold a series of four short talks each year, followed by dinner under the title of Brewing and Beer Brands and I was delighted to be invited last night in Brewer's Hall (no excuse for being late!).

Professor Katherine Smart, SAB Miller, began with a fascinating look at the importance of brewing in science (not the other way round!). 'Standing on the shoulders of Giants' led us first to the British Museum where you will find brewing recipe calculations which date back to 3000 BC, through medieval monks who used branches dipped in the froth off the beer to achieve serial re-pitching of the yeast and then hung the branches outside their houses to dry! From the development of early microscopes (used of course to look at beer) to Joules law and Louis Pasteur, there is a conjoined history of brewing and science.

Professor David Quain (Herriot Watt University) argued the case for fit for work, employability of graduates, the importance of job or work placements and links with the industry.

Tom Falcon (Shepherd Neame) encouraged us all to attend the Campden BRI day on 6th June and show the same enthusiasm as our colleagues in the food industry for the importance of its services. Tom also challenged us to think outside of the normal brewing services and consider many of the complementary services developed within the food industry such as eye tracking technology, testing the attractiveness of labels, process verification and its wide ranging Membership Interest Groups. Tom also announced the first brewing MIG in September.

Finally, Chris Ward (Thomas Hardy) explained the growth in PET, observed by Hardy and Hanson, and what a disaster it would have been if Usain Bolt had a glass bottle thrown at him at the London Olympics and not a plastic one! Although new barrier technologies have improved this situation, there remain disadvantages to plastic based on longer term flavour stability and product shelf life. However, advantages are seen in cases where container return is difficult and unreliable. The lower carbon footprint of PET, improvements in Capex and its growing social acceptability, despite many consumers still seeing glass as a more premium material, was also discussed.

Dinner in Brewers Hall is always a treat and in this case accompanied by the Master’s beer (Mark Woodhouse) we toasted Her Majesty with Badger Wandering Woodwose – a fitting tribute as today we await the Queen’s Speech.


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