Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Palaszczuk Government's 'out-of-the-bottle' thinking behind efforts to make beer taste better

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Friday, May 12, 2017

    Palaszczuk Government's 'out-of-the-bottle' thinking behind efforts to make beer taste better

    The Palaszczuk Government is supporting research looking to develop a unique craft beer through its Advance Queensland initiative.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said University of Queensland PhD biochemistry student Edward Kerr has been awarded a $45,000 Advance Queensland PhD Scholarship for his research looking at how genomic differences in yeast and malt can influence the biochemistry, production and product qualities of beer.

    Ms Enoch said Mr Kerr was looking in particular at how wild yeast could diversify beer production and quality.

    “This is seen as ‘holy grail’ research and could have a big impact for craft beer production in Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

    “This project is a perfect example of out-of-the-box thinking – or in this case out-of-the-bottle thinking – with a great connection between a business need and scientific research.

    “This is exactly what the Palaszczuk Government’s $405 million Advance Queensland initiative has set out to achieve – bringing our scientists and businesses together to work on developing new products and services that will ultimately benefit all Queenslanders.”

    Mr Kerr said while beer manufacturing was an established industrial process, the underlying biochemistry was relatively unknown.

    “My research will look to rectify this, using the latest science to gain a greater understanding of beer production at the biochemical level,” Mr Kerr said.

    “The knowledge gained will be very useful, providing producers with the know-how to improve beer production, including in mashing, fermentation and hopping,” Mr Kerr said.

    “On top of that I’m going to search for and collect wild yeast from around Brisbane for use in beer fermentation to produce craft beers with unique flavours.”

    As part of his scholarship, Mr Kerr will spend 50 per cent of his time working at renowned Brisbane craft beer brewery Newstead Brewing.

    Newstead Brewing’s Managing Director Dr Mark Howes said Mr Kerr would have access to the company’s pilot brewery for experimentation, working closely with Head Brewer Dr Kerry Claydon.

    “Modern craft brewing is a burgeoning market. However, a lack of insight into the science of the brewing process, combined with lack of access to the required equipment and expertise to unravel that science, has made it difficult to improve the process and innovate,” Dr Howes said.

    He said while independent brewers accounted for three per cent of the total beer market, it was the only segment with positive growth.

    Dr Howes said 2016 saw the number of brewing companies in Australia double to over 400.

    “In this increasingly competitive market it has become imperative to improve the process, reduce the cost of beer production and innovate to educate and grow the market,” he said.

    “So having Mr Kerr come on board is really welcome as we seek to expand our business.”

    Dr Howes said Newstead Brewing understood perfectly the importance of research, investing heavily in innovation and experimentation to give themselves the edge in the marketplace.

    ENDS

    MEDIA 0412 393 909