Students launch sustainable beer as part of annual project



A student team from the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) will unveil a new sustainable beer on Thursday 27 June as part of an annual project called Natural Selection Brewing.

The project, now in its ninth year, is for selected MSc Brewing and Distilling students. Tasked with trialling unique beer recipes, developing branding and brewing 5,000 litres of their chosen recipe for sale across the UK, the team work in close collaboration with industry partner Stewart Brewing.

Natural Selection is an invaluable opportunity for us to support our studies outside the classroom and employ our skills in a real-life industry setting, all under the supervision and support of the Stewart Brewing team.

Danielle Whelan, MSc Brewing and Distilling Student, Heriot-Watt University

Now in its ninth year, the Natural Selection Brewing takes its name from its evolutionary nature as successive groups of students add creativity and innovation to drive the project in a new direction. This year's team will release the most sustainable creation to date, a 3.7% blackcurrant and raspberry Berliner weisse called 'The Altruist'.

The team has used carbon offsetting, some locally sourced ingredients and fully recyclable or compostable packaging to reduce their environmental impact.

Caroline Gilmer, head of sales for Natural Selection Brewing, explains: “By meticulously calculating the total volume of carbon our brewing activities will release into the environment, we have been able to offset our impact by planting native Scottish trees with the help of Forest Carbon, who specialise in carbon capture.”

Fred Newell, head of marketing, continues: “Not only does this provide our brand with a unique point of sale, but it also allows us to contribute toward a more sustainable and ethical brewing industry, one which we all hope to be part of in the coming years.”

James Pugh, head brewer for the project, said: “The Altruist is a sour wheat beer that pours a hazy magenta hue and has a delightful forest fruit aroma. Balanced by a puckering sourness and the tartness of the berries, a subtle malt base and light wheat body combine to form a refreshing, flavourful beer - perfect for the Scottish summer.”

In addition to the four brewing students, this year's team includes Rory Russel from Napier University who is studying graphic design. He has worked alongside the team to develop the unique and contemporary branding.

The launch, at Six Degrees North in Edinburgh, is open to the public and will be the first opportunity to taste the latest creation.