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SABMiller sponsors UK Chair of Brewing Science

28 June 2006

Ref 23/2006

SABMiller plc, one of the world’s leading brewers, announces that it is sponsoring a new chair of Brewing Science at The University of Nottingham.  The first brewing scientist to take up the position will be Professor Katherine Smart, who joins the University’s School of Biosciences from Oxford Brookes University.  She is one of the country’s leading experts in yeast and fermentation process that is a major factor in determining the quality and flavour of the beer we drink.  The chair, which will be sponsored by SABMiller with an initial  grant of £167,000, also marks the launch of a new postgraduate programme at the University, an MSc in Brewing Science.

The MSc in Brewing Science syllabus will look at the effect of climate change on barley used for brewing, how best to design breweries and how to harness the natural properties of yeast during fermentation. Professor Smart, who will be the UK’s only female Professor of Brewing Science, joins a number of colleagues at the University already working on brewing related research in the field of biosciences, chemistry, chemical engineering and environmental science.  It is thought that the methods and materials used for brewing could hold the key to the future development of a range of ‘bio-fuels’ for cars and power stations.

SABMiller’s chief executive, Graham Mackay commented:

"The University of Nottingham is a leader in the field of brewing science and SABMiller is delighted to be supporting Katherine and the new MSc programme.  We are always looking at ways of enhancing techniques and technologies to enhance our product quality while, as part of our sustainable development approach, improving the environment in which we operate."

Professor Smart said:

“Brewing science is critical to the brewing industry which has a long standing reputation as the driving force behind new technologies that have been used by so many other industries.  Brewing fermentations in particular could provide valuable insights into how we might effectively generate replacements to fossil fuels, most directly the development of environmentally-friendly bioethanol.”

“If just five per cent of the fuel in the petrol tanks of cars in the UK was composed of bioethanol, it would be the equivalent of taking a million cars off the road network in terms of reduced pollution.”
The brewing related research that currently takes place at the University includes:

  • How the environment affects the raw brewing materials, such as malted barley crop quality, and the partial germination of barley, to improve the quality of crops and the brewing process
  • Improving the flavour, colour and clarity of beer to produce a refreshing beverage
  • Developing full-flavoured, reduced alcohol alternatives to promote responsible drinking
  • Generating renewable energy by using spent grains from the brewing process to produce electricity and using the materials and processes of brewing to produce bioethanol fuel


Notes to editors:


SABMiller plc is one of the world’s largest brewers with brewing interests or distribution agreements in over 60 countries across five continents. The group’s brands include premium international beers such as Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as an exceptional range of market leading local brands.  Outside the USA, SABMiller plc is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

In the year ended 31 March 2006, the group reported US$2,626 million adjusted pre-tax profit and a turnover of US$15,307 million.  SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

The University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham undertakes world-changing research and provides teaching of the highest quality. Ranked in the THES World Top 100 Universities, its academics have won two Nobel Prizes since 2003. An international institution, the University has campuses in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and China.

Professor Katherine Smart
SABMiller Professor of Brewing Science

Professor Katherine Smart completed a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences in 1987, she was then awarded the Rainbow Research Scholarship to study for her PhD in Brewing Science at Bass Brewing Limited which she completed in 1990.  She then held an appointment as Post Doctoral Research Fellow at Cambridge University to investigate microbial contamination of beverages.  In 1992, at the age of 25, she was appointed as Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and developed a significant research activity in Brewing Science.  In 1999 Professor Smart was awarded the Institute of Brewing and Distilling Cambridge Prize.  In 2000 she was awarded the prestigious Royal Society Industrial Fellowship and the Scottish Courage Readership in Brewing Science.  In 2003 she won the “Save British Science Award” for her work which she collected at the Houses of Parliament and was also invited to become a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.  In 2004 she held the appointment of Professor in Brewing Science at Oxford Brookes University before moving in 2005 to the University of Nottingham where she is the first recipient of the SABMiller chair in Brewing Science.

This announcement is available on

High resolution images of Katherine Smart are available for the media to view and download free of charge from:   


SABMiller plc  
Tel: +44 20 7659 0100

James Crampton 
Media Relations Manager, SABMiller plc 
Tel: +44 7795 208158

Emma Thorne 
Media Relations Manager, University of Nottingham 
Tel: +44 115 951 5793

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