History of the Institute

The Institute of Brewing and Distilling started as the Laboratory Club in London in 1886. It held regular meetings, at which brewing scientists discussed burning questions of the day, and soon began publishing papers based on their discussions. It is interesting to note that among the first subjects were “Wastefulness in Brewing”, “Brewing Calculations” and “Yeast Deterioration”; these subjects are still being discussed today.


The name was changed to “The Institute of Brewing, London”. Regional groups started meetings in parts of England other than London, laying the foundation for the present seven UK sections, and in 1904 they amalgamated to form “The Institute of Brewing” as we know it today. In 1953 the first overseas Section was formed, the Australian Section. This became the Australian and New Zealand Section in 1967, and expanded further to become the Asia Pacific Section in 1991. A Canadian group started meetings in 1967, and this became the core of the International Section, which was formed in 1991.


In Africa, a Central and Southern African Section was formed in 1982, with 60 members, and in 1997 the section expanded to become the Africa Section, membership is now 500. At the beginning of 2001, the IBG (International Brewers Guild) and the IOB (Institute of Brewing) amalgamated to form the IGB – The Institute & Guild of Brewing.

The Institute today

The stated purpose of the IBD is “the advancement of education of benefit to the public or a section of the public, specifically in the sciences of brewing, fermentation and distillation.” The word”sciences” needs to be interpreted broadly, and the Institute concerns itself with both scientific and technical matters to do with the brewing and packaging of fermented beverages. This includes general management aspects as appropriate.


Which beverages? The key to this is brewing. The main concern of the Institute is products that involve a brewing process – clear beer in all its forms, sorghum beer and whisky. The Institute is also concerned with vinegar and wine making, although these are not areas from which many members are currently drawn. Their science and technology is relevant, however, to fermentation. Nevertheless the Institute is always receptive to developments from other industries. For example, scientific research in the wine industry may help to shed light on aspects of beer fermentation.


From the above it can be concluded that the activities of the Institute are of interest not only to brewing staff, but also to packaging, engineering and quality staff. It serves both individual members and the industry, including Allied Traders. It also maintains strong links with academic institutions in the field. There is a role to play in imparting technical and scientific knowledge to non-technical people.


The Institute has its headquarters in London, however it’s coverage is worldwide. In addition to various Sections within the United Kingdom, three important and growing sections (Asia and Pacific, Africa and International) serve the interests of members of the Brewing Industry throughout the world. It is certainly the leading body of its kind in the English speaking world and the membership shows that it also has a strong support amongst those whose mother tongue is not English. Communication in other languages is under consideration as appropriate. Its links with, and influence on, the Brewing Industry as a whole, are well illustrated by:

  • its membership of the European Brewery Convention (EBC)
  • its association with Brewing Research International (BRI)
  • the issuing of recommended methods of analysis
  • its involvement with research and development in the fields of barley and hops
  • “Joint Maker/User Committee” links with equipment suppliers
What can the Institute offer?

Internationally recognised Associate Membership and Diploma Master Brewer qualifications, by examination. Entry to these examinations is no longer restricted to those with certain formal educational qualifications (although a sound grounding in science and mathematics is needed), and the examinations are modular. Recognition is given for each module passed and any member of the technical staff of a Brewery can find something appropriate to his/her needs.


There is the John S Ford Award for outstanding candidates in the Associate examinations; winners are encouraged to spend their prize money on the study of brewing methods and developments overseas.


With effect from 1999, a Foundation Certificate in Brewing, at the pre-Associate level is being introduced. This covers Brewing and Packaging processes, and associated fundamental biological, biochemical and other principles. No formal qualifications are required to write the examination; the level of the content is appropriate for Team Leaders, Shift Supervisors and similar operating staff, while also being appropriate as a first step for those intending to go on to the Associate and Diploma levels.


A Foundation Certificate in Distillation is currently under preparation by the Africa Section, and is anticipated to be available for use during 2004. The Scottish section have started revising the distillation course material for study towards the Associate Membership examination in Distillation – this work should be completed and available for use in 2004 / 2005.


Each member receives the prestigious Journal of the Institute of Brewing, which publishes original scientific work of a high quality on all topics related to the raw materials of brewing, the brewing process and related fermentation process. Its contributions are drawn from Universities, Colleges, Laboratories, Research staff in Companies and individual experts all over the world. Published quarterly, it carries critical survey articles and abstracts of relevant papers which have appeared in other journals.


Members also receive The Brewer International which includes feature articles of general interest covering both science and technology, raw material reports and news both of Institute activities and from the industry in general. It is essential reading for technical staff and examination students. This journal is published monthly and like the Journal is distributed in over 70 countries worldwide. Members also receive technical reports and other printed material.


The Institute in the United Kingdom runs Brewster courses in technical management as preparation for candidates sitting their examinations. It also provides support through a Brewing Science and Technology series of publications, and the development of further study material is being addressed. Similar courses are now being run within the Africa Section, using local and overseas experts. Recent venues included Lagos, Nairobi, Harare and Seychelles.


The Africa Section subsidises the cost of these courses to a significant degree.The Africa Section has recently compiled a five module, five day lecture programme entitled “Principles of Hygiene in the Beverage Industry” – this will be available for use from the beginning of 2004. The “Press Release” information sheet appears in the Training Section.


Once a year the Institute runs the International Brewing Science and Technology course, over five weeks at the BRI at Nutfield England. This focuses on brewing science and technology for modern lager brewing with associated raw materials, malting and packaging topics. It is attended by brewing staff from many parts of the world. Industrial study visits and engineering design and practical projects are included. Finally, the Institute organises one week study tours – looking at the brewing industry of a particular country or area – every few years.


The Institute offers many opportunities for members to keep themselves up to date, these include:

  • Scientific and technical conventions – held every two years by both the Asia Pacific and Africa Sections. These include exhibitions of plant, equipment and materials
  • Symposia – for example the Africa Section symposia on “Maintenance”, “Packaging for the beverage Industry”, “Barley, Malt and Wort” and “Sorghum”
  • Section meetings – apart from the paper that is normally presented at such meetings, they provide an opportunity to network with others in the industry. A member is entitled to attend the meetings of any Section. The Africa Section itself networks with other Sections
  • The opportunity to attend the EBC Congresses at member rates; also the Aviemore Conference in Scotland. In addition, the opportunity to submit papers /posters to be considered for presentation