Stu Brew: Newcastle students brewing up success

A group of students at Newcastle University have set-up Europe’s first and only student run microbrewery providing local pubs and the student union with a variety of ales and beers. BQ caught up with Will Truscott of Stu Brew to see how they made it happen.

Stu Brew is a sustainabile microbrewery managed by students for students through Newcastle University Students’ Union.

Over 800 pints of the ‘hoppy’ India Pale named OverDraught is now available at venues across the University campus, including MensBar and Newcastle EATS, and external local pubs and bars such as Crow’s Nest and Trent House.

The beer was designed and launched following focus groups and taster sessions with students, which helped refine the OverDraught recipe.

Will told BQ: “We produce a range of craft beers which consist of 2 IPAs called Overdraught and extended overdraught, a porter called University Porter and our latest creation which will be an Amber Ale which will be named when we realise it in a few weeks time.

“We supply local pubs and attend events to sell the beer ourselves while educating the customers about the beer, brewing and some of our environmental initiatives.”

The initiative was backed by the National Union of Students (NUS) as the group of enterprising student’s wanted to brew up their entrepreneurial spirit.

He continued: “An interest in brewing craft beer and wanting to be a part of a business where we could get hands on experience inspired us to start up Stu Brew.

“We also wanted to investigate and improve elements of the brewing process such as reducing the water usage within the brewery.

“We are set up as a Student Community Action Newcastle (SCAN) scheme and to start up we got funding off National Union of Students (NUS) green fund. We are a non-profit organisation so we reinvest all our profits.

“We are supported and based in the school of chemical engineering in Newcastle University who have been really accommodating to allow our growth.

“Specifically Red Kellie from SCAN and Dr. Chris O’Malley from chemical engineering have put in a great deal of time and expertise to help and to get us to where we are today.”

As full time students and part time brewers – it is quite hard for the brewing team at Stu Brew to balance their workloads.

Truscott said: “The biggest challenge has been keeping up with demand given that we only brew on weekends in our spare time as the brewing one batch takes a full day from start to finish.

“Our next big target is to consistently supply our customers as well as our new customers and maybe even win an award for our beer!”

Nine months into the project and the group have already seen demand for their products soar. As Will said: “The brewery has now been active for 9 months and we have recently taken large orders in preparation for freshers week (the start of the university year) so in to meet those orders we are currently producing over 2000 pints worth of beer, which consists of 4 different beers.

“This year a completely new committee has taken over and looks to grow Stu Brew after a successful first year of brewing. The success of Stu Brew was recently recognised after we won the National Union of Students enterprise award.”

BQ will continue to monitor the Stu Brew story as the company grows.