South East Technological University (SETU) signed an exciting new strategic collaboration this week to create a national brewing and distilling innovation hub in the south east. The region is Ireland’s principal area for the production of grain for the drinks sector; is home to a national cluster of breweries, distilleries, and malt houses; and provides the country’s only ab initio honours degree course in brewing and distilling.
Building on existing expertise, SETU and Teagasc will work closely together on a range of initiatives including enhanced industry engagement, collaborative research, education, training, and community engagement. This will take place at the new National Centre for Brewing and Distilling (NCBD), based at Oak Park in Carlow. It is anticipated that the partnership will generate significant efforts to support continued sustainable growth in the malting, brewing, and distilling sector in Ireland, including targeted ‘through-to-impact’ research and industry supports. Additionally, it will grow educational opportunities and interdisciplinary research activity within the sector.
Speaking at the event this week, Dr David Ryan of SETU, commented, “This collaboration is a game-changer for the expanding malting, brewing and distilling sector in Ireland. As well as formalising the existing relationship with Teagasc and the NCBD, it strategically links with SETU’s strengths in supporting the agri-sector and indigenous food industries.”
Speaking about the collaboration, Lisa Ryan, Manager at NCBD said, “This collaboration makes perfect sense since both SETU and the National Centre for Brewing and Distilling (NCBD) at Teagasc have a shared goal of enhancing and developing the next generation of maltsters, brewers, and distillers to support these industries who have created such exciting career opportunities in Ireland. The NCBD and SETU partnership will support hands on training through the NCBD giving the graduates a distinct advantage when entering the marketplace.”
The NCBD will be a domestic centre of excellence for brewing and distilling, with its expert staff and facilities ensuring the continued development of these industries. Currently in its first phase of development, the centre is focused on the operation of facilities for testing raw materials for malting and the production of bespoke batches of specialised malts for the craft beer sector and test batches for larger distilling companies. Plans for the second phase include securing funding for equipment to support a full suite of facilities to support pilot scale brewing and distillation research. This will generate opportunities to address current industry challenges, train and upskill staff, and allow adaption of technology to enhance consumer demands, competitiveness, and sustainability.
Additionally, the aim of the NCBD is to support the education, training, research, and innovation within the drinks industry, encompassing all stages and stakeholders from education, agronomy, and production to finished product.
SETU established Ireland’s first honours degree course in brewing and distilling in 2016 and it is one of only four worldwide with professional recognition from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD). It is an industry-facing programme combining science, engineering, business, and marketing as well as research, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The programme has a global reach through a partnership with Henan University of Animal Husbandry and Economy (HUAHE) in China, with over 100 students currently enrolled on the course. The degree is one of a suite of related SETU programmes in food science, agriculture, farm management, tourism, agribusiness, culinary arts, and horticulture.
For more information on the NCBD, click here.
For more information on SETU’s Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Brewing and Distilling, click here.
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