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National Centre for Brewing and Distilling

The ambition of the NCBD (National Centre for Brewing and Distilling) is to develop with academic and industry partners a domestic centre of excellence for brewing and distilling that:

  • Validates the added value potential of Irish grains for malting/brewing/distilling.
  • Supports education, training, research and innovation within the drinks industry for stakeholders from education, agronomy, production to finished product.

Developing a domestic centre of excellent for brewing and distilling

First Phase

Currently in the first phase of development, the focus is on the testing of raw materials for malting and the production of small batches of specialised malts for the craft beer sector, and of test batches for the malting and distilling companies.

As the Irish drinks industries continue to thrive, the country has seen significant growth in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink sales. One area of significant growth is Irish whiskey and competitors are exploring ways to innovate and gain further market share.

In the past few years, many distillers have tried to resurrect old heritage grains and also heritage mash bills in an effort to diversify. The NCBD will play an active role in this type of innovation with the use of the pilot plant to optimise flavour profiles, yields and overall process ability of different mash bills for the industry. This will in turn build additional demand for more rye, oats and wheat to be grown in Ireland.

The current research collaboration called ‘DABBING CAP’ is a major Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine funded project - with Teagasc and SETU, working with TUD - aiming to produce and to process Irish wheat and novel grains such as rye, maize grain and spelt as a direct replacement for imported maize. Great progress has been made on optimisation of wheat for distilling and further work is planned for pilot scale testing once the second phase of the NCBD is complete.

Micro malting

  • operation of facilities for testing raw materials for malting
  • 4 compartment vessels allowing 4 different germinating or kilning protocols
  • Malting 100g up to 8kg batches

Micro Brewing and Distilling

  • Brewing and distilling 60L – 100L test batches
  • Pot distillation and column distillation capability
  • On site dedicated laboratory for all beer and spirit testing

Pilot malting

  • Pilot malting plant – malting up to 250KG batches of grain
  • Capability to produce speciality malts

Pilot Malting Plant

Second Phase

Plans for the second phase are underway, which includes securing additional funds for the requisite equipment to support a full suite of facilities to enable pilot scale brewing and distillation research, as required by industry.

In addition to targeted research projects, funded via public/commercial funds, the ambition of the NCBD is to support the education, training, research and innovation within the drinks industry - encompassing all stages and stakeholders from education, agronomy and production to a finished product.

For more information contact Lisa Ryan, Manager of NCBD.