Barford’s brewery: Professor insists it’s not for partying

Students to make beer in $100,000 installation

A brewery is being set up in a teaching laboratory at the University of Science and Technology, Professor John Barford said.  Costing only about $100,000, it’s a micro-brewery taking up just 15 sq ft, but dispensing 50 litres of amber fluid at a time.

Professor John Barford

This gleaming piece of kit foreshadows “a frothy future” for the local beer industry, John said.  Hong Kong has been slow to catch up with countries overseas that have taken to micro-brewing with gusto and an eye for profit. Only two others of the same make are operating in the territory, one in Kennedy Town and one at Prince Edward called FOAM.

The new one in the UST’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is not about partying, John insists. “It’s about giving students exposure to industrial application of what they are studying.”

Designed by Frames Bellavita Winery Hong Kong, the micro-brewery is made in China.  Its working bits are a grain mash tank, which does filtration, whirlpooling and cooling, and a fermenting and conditioning tank that also dispenses the frothy stuff. It has a saccharification tank and pumping system. The whole thing is on wheels.

“If you have got the recipe right, beer will flow out of the tap, ice cold, all natural and chemical free,” John said.

Micro-brewery installed at UST will make special brews only for visitors, he says

There will be parties, but only officially endorsed ones. “We will do special brews for visitors, academics from China and overseas, alumni and business.”

The same Frames Bellavita kit can make wine and cider. Byproducts can be used as animal food and fertiliser. John is widely experienced in brewing and wine-making.  He has run courses in Sydney and consulted for industry there. In Japan, John has made beer and wine commercially.  To finance his research at UST, he has received grants, individually or jointly, of more than $40 million.

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