UK Government Minister Lord Ian Duncan today visited the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh campus to learn more about its world leading reputation in teaching and learning.
“With 70% of UK distilleries based in Scotland, the UK Government values the Centre’s support to this sector which is so vital for Scotland and its economy.”
The Minister toured the unrivalled facilities, including the onsite 200 litre brewery, which is an essential tool of the Centre’s research as well as a practical teaching tool for the basic principles of beer production.
He also visited the experimental distillery, including a 25-litre wash still and an 18-litre spirit still, making it the smallest licensed distillery in Scotland along with the malting labs.
Lord Duncan was provided with an overview of the support the University offers to the global development and continuing prosperity of the brewing and distilling industries through maintaining strong practical working links with companies and suppliers across the sector.
UK Government Minister Lord Duncan said: “I was delighted to visit the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University and hear of its important role in bringing new talent, skills and innovation to this ever growing and world class industry. With 70% of UK distilleries based in Scotland, the UK Government values the Centre’s support to this sector which is so vital for Scotland and its economy.”
Following the tour, the Minister met with the team of Heriot-Watt researchers and academics who established Horizon Proteins, which is developing processes for the recovery and re-use of protein and energy from fermentation and distillery by-products for use as a sustainable source of protein for salmon feed.
The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) is a unique teaching and research facility. Its undergraduate programme can be traced back over more than 115 years to the establishment of the first Brewing course in 1903. It continues to be the only centre of its type in the UK.
Based in the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, the ICBD is the only organisation in the UK to offer both Honours and Masters degrees in Brewing and Distilling as well as distance learning opportunities.
ICBD attracts students from across the globe while its graduates hold key positions in brewing and distilling companies around the world. The University undertakes research for a range of leading companies while the expertise of its academics has been sought to establish brewing and distilling schools in India and China with close collaboration continuing between the institutions.
ICBD recently collaborated with the Scottish Distillers Association and five distilleries to develop a unique library of over 40 botanicals grown in Scotland for distillers to create new gins and botanical liqueurs while supporting export activity. The library is now used to ensure Scottish gin meets import standards in countries like the USA. With 70% of the UK’s gin produced in Scotland, and sales expected to hit £1.5billion by 2020, the library is one example of ICBD’s support for producers in both domestic and international markets.