Far East taps Scottish head for brewing

March 1, 1996

India and China have both decided to set up national brewing schools and have turned to the world experts on beer - the Scots.

The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University is playing a key role in establishing the Indian brewing school at Mysore and the Chinese brewing school at the Wuxi University of Light Industry, east of Shanghai.

The ICBD, the only English-speaking institution in the world to give university degrees in brewing, will use its own nine-month postgraduate diploma as the basis of the Indian and Chinese courses which are expected to begin in the coming session.

The centre's director, Graham Stewart, said both countries produced "fairly light lager beer". Beer was growing in popularity particularly among the increasingly affluent Indian middle class, he said.

Around 700 million of India's 900 million inhabitants had the religious freedom to drink if they wished, and the Indian government was keen to promote beer drinking rather than the traditionally more popular spirits.

"And with 800 working breweries, China is now the second largest brewing nation in the world in terms of annual production. If trends continue, it will outstrip the United States before the end of the century to become the largest beer-producing country."

But Professor Stewart said there was a great shortage of trained staff in both countries' brewing industries, and it was important to train them in conventional methods and current technological advances.

"I believe training brewers as technical managers is a postgraduate subject. It's important that people have a basic science degree with a good grounding in biological, chemical and physical subjects."

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