The history of Brewlab
1986 Brewlab is born in London. Relatively few small breweries exist and those that do are often established by enthusiastic amateurs taking the plunge into a difficult commercial world – or commercial brewers retiring from the larger breweries.
We begin by providing laboratory services to breweries who do not have the skills or resources to deal with problems and technical challenges including contaminations due to poor yeast management and testing to determine the features of routine production.
We continually receive requests for brewing training curses so decide to develop a portfolio of ‘Start Up’ and ‘Quality Workshops’ designed to help ambitious brewers develop their knowledge and understanding they need. Practical experience was delivered by the nearby Pitfield Brewery.
1991 Brewlab relocates to the Sunderland on the North East of England. Although now nearly 270 miles from the capital Brewlab’s courses, services, and growing reputation bring increasing trade. Staff are engaged from the nearby Vaux brewery and our courses expanded to include a three-week practical brewing programme which attracts increasing numbers of overseas recruits.
1995 For a number of years, the company is based in laboratories at the University of Sunderland and in 1995 established the Darwin Brewery with a 100-litre brew kit primarily for demonstration. The beers produced soon develop a commercial following and the brewery purchases the Hodges brewery in Crook to increase production. Darwin later establishes a site in Sunderland with the kit from the Butterknowle producing 1500 litres per brew – a significant increase on the initial production with beers becoming increasingly recognised in the North East and receiving a number of national awards.
The commercial development of Darwin Brewery allows Brewlab to provide more substantial commercial experience to students who can see and experience brewing from production stages to pulling pints in the local pubs. Business elements become a major feature of courses which now include a nine-week diploma course in British Brewing Technology.
2011 Brewlab moves into purpose-built premises and for the first time brings the Darwin Brewery alongside our training provision. We now offer practical training, a dedicated training room and teaching laboratory all in one place as well as a dedicated professional laboratory housed at a nearby Business Innovation Centre. Brewlab is perfectly placed to deliver tailored training and lab services to the growing brewing sector.
Today Brewlab retains its links with the University of Sunderland, Newcastle University and the John Innes Centre as well as a number of prominent overseas universities. We also benefit from our engaged alumni community. An international network of past students who provide invaluable feedback and progress updates that help in the further development of our new and current students.