Welcome to

The International Centre for Brewing & Distilling

A unique teaching & research facility meeting the needs of the brewing, distilling & malting industries worldwide



The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) is a major division of the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University. Consequently the research programme emphasizes the biochemical and microbiological aspects of brewing and distilling, especially cereals, including malting, and fermentation.



ICBD 25 years

The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) is a unique teaching and research facility. The centre is based on a partnership between industry and academics, and makes up part of the School of Life Sciences located in the Riccarton campus of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

The ICBD is the only organisation in the UK to offer both Honours and Masters degrees in Brewing and Distilling. As such, the centre not only supplies the industry with new-blood graduates, but with services, expertise and facilities consistent with the standards required in the local, national, and international markets. A variety of courses are available both on campus and by distance learning and short courses and workshops are catered for on request.

News & events

ICDB Dinner Invitation

Join the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary

To mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the International Centre for Brewing and alumni and friends of the Centre are invited to join us for a dinner to be held on Wednesday 17th September 2014.

We are extremely fortunate to welcome Lord Karan Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL as our keynote speaker for the evening. Lord Bilimoria, who received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt in 2005, is Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited and of Molson Coors Cobra India, both joint ventures with the global brewing company Molson Coors. In 1989 he founded Cobra Beer and oversaw the rise of the company from humble beginnings in his flat in Fulham, to a multi-million pound global operation.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday 17 September 2014

Time: 7pm reception followed by dinner

Venue: Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus, EH14 4AS

Dress code: Black tie

Tickets: £70 per attendee, special rates available for those booking a table before 31st July 2014

All Alumni should have recently received an invitation either by email or post, if you have not done so please email to update your details and receive your invite or alternatively visit reserve your places.

Registration closes on Wednesday 27th August 2014.


Recent Events:


Chicago 6th June

Alumni Reception:

Friday 6th June, 7.30pm

The Gage, Chicago

During the Master Brewers Association of the Americas Annual Conference, Professor Alex Speers will be hosted an informal reception for all alumni and current students at the ICBD.




3rd June 2014

London Transport Museum

Covent Garden, London


The Gin Guild joined with Heriot-Watt University's International Centre of Brewing and Distilling (ICBD), to present a one-day advanced seminar on gin for the trade.

The seminar, was held at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden was wide ranging and topics include:Gin categories and legal definitions
Gin brands past and present and the importance of brand and marketing to ensure sales & success
Creating gin flavour – the effect of different stills (including the use of pot still, carter-head and vacuum stills)
Botanicals and novel botanicals
Two tutored tasting of gins
I: Juniper and citrus and
II: Spicy, herbal, etc.
The micro-distilling/ craft distilling movement
Gin quality management
Future perspectives for gin and Gin and its importance in Cocktails.
Speakers include:Christopher Hayman, Hayman Distillers
Nicholas Cook, The Gin Guild
Professor Paul Hughes, Heriot- Watt University/International Centre for Brewing and Distilling
John McCarthy, Adnams Distillers & Brewers, winner of the 2013 IWSC Gin Trophy
David T Smith, Author of 'The Craft of Gin' and upcoming titles, 'Forgotten Spirits & Long-Lost Liqueurs' and 'How to Make Gin'. He runs the website, and is an international spirits competition judge.
Mark Gamble, Union Distillers – Two Birds gins
Ross Aylott, Partner - Aylott Scientific
Charles Maxwell, Director and Master Distiller, Thames Distillers
Tristan Stephenson, Mixologist, drinks industry expert and director of Fluid Movement – author of The Curious Bartender – The artistry and alchemy of creating the perfect cocktail.


open day 24th April

ICBD Open Day and Presentations

Thursday 24th April

Programme of Events:

3.00 - 4.30 pm Tours of the ICBD. John Muir Building.
4.45 - 5.30pm History of Brewing - John Martin (Scottish Brewing Archive). Postgraduate Centre.
5.30 - 6.00pm ICBD Posters and Brewing Historical Society Display. Postgraduate Centre.
6.00pm ICBD Futures Lecture: Malting - Richard Broadbent (Bairds Malt). Postgraduate Centre.
7.00pm Reception. Postgraduate Centre.


Diageo Debate HW

Thursday 30th January


Postgraduate Centre, Heriot-Watt University 


IBD Videolink Evening 

IBD Video Conference

Wednesday 22nd January 2014