Brewing partnership inspiring the next generation

The first student to receive funding under a new partnership between the University of Nottingham and Molson Coors has undertaken a research project that looks to improve the performance of yeast in high gravity brewing.

Valerio Delbon is studying for the MSc in Brewing Science & Practice and has been working with Molson Coors on a project analysing the various minerals, vitamins and cofactors needed for optimal fermentation by yeast in high gravity brewing. Valerio is the first student to benefit from the new partnership that was launched in May. This new scheme allows students to apply for an award that will cover 50% of their University of Nottingham course fees and undertake a 3-month project at Molson Coors’ Burton brewery.

His research examines high gravity brewing and yeast nutrient supplementation. It is known that yeast cells are subjected to stressful conditions in high gravity brewing due to osmotic stress and high ethanol concentration. The research project evaluated how nutrient supplementation could positively impact on fermentation performance and yeast health when high gravity brewing is employed.

As well as providing funding, the partnership provides students with access to industry experts via a mentor from the brewery. Molson Coors are offering a further two funding awards available in this coming academic year.

Valerio said: “I’ve always had an interest in craft beer. During my bachelor’s degree, myself and a friend started producing our own beer. This really ignited my passion for brewing, which is when I started searching for a brewing course.

“I was delighted to be accepted for this award as Molson Coors is a world-renowned brewery where I could develop my interest and knowledge of fermentation and yeast handling, which is one of the most important parts of the brewing process. Visiting the brewery and getting some practical experience in a commercial environment has allowed me to see how my research might be applied to the commercial brewing process.”

Molson Coors has a long association with the University of Nottingham, and has been involved in various collaborations in the past, including funding a PhD student whose research paper on flavour stability in beer was presented at the EBC (European Brewing Convention) congress 2015 in Porto.

David Cook, Associate Professor in Brewing Science said: “As well as the obvious financial benefits the award offers, students also receive invaluable industry knowledge and an insight into the practicalities of brewing, taking their research from the lab into a commercial environment. Valerio has taken full advantage of the opportunities and support provided by Molson Coors and is well on the way to forging a successful career in the industry. We look forward to continuing this partnership with Molson Coors and the benefits it offers our students. Two such awards will be available this coming academic year to students on the MSc Brewing Science & Practice, and we hope students with a passion and interest in brewing will put themselves forward.”

Roddy McEwan, Molson Coors’ Global Brewing Process Innovation Director, said: “Giving brewing students a chance to see the inner workings of our global brewing company allows them to witness how the things they have learned during the MSc course are practically applied in Molson Coors’ commercial brewing processes. They can get an idea of furture roles within the brewing industry and demonstrate their potential as future employees. Following Valerio’s successful time at our Burton brewery we look forward to supporting future students through their studies and showing them what an exciting and dynamic company Molson Coors is. Our doors are open and our people are more than willing to help in all manner of ways. We value our relationship with the University of Nottingham very highly and this is one way in which we can show our commitment to it.”