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 part of the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences. The research programme emphasizes the biochemical and microbiological aspects of brewing and distilling, especially cereals, including malting, and fermentation.


Dr James Bryce

I am a Plant Scientist with particular interests in: The germination of cereals. The metabolic regulation of respiration and carbohydrate breakdown in photosynthetic tissues and cereal grains. My desire to see fundamental knowledge improve the life of individuals and economic prosperity has led me to work: On malting science to improve the selection, germination and processing of cereals On aspects of brewing and distilling to enhance the utilisation of cereal carbohydrate and protein. I have acted as a consultant to the distilling industry drawing on my experience of relevant fundamental research.

Dr Annie Hill

Annie's main research interests within the International Centre for Brewing & Distilling include microbial spoilage of alcoholic beverages and detection of spoilage organisms in breweries/distilleries, in particular investigation of anaerobic Gram negative bacteria. Other interests include the management of Brewery water and examination of the nitrogen compounds in wort and their effect on yeast and fermentation activity. More recent activities have focussed on distilling projects, in particular product design and process improvement. Formation of the Scottish Craft Distillers Association and subsequent funding from Interface Food and Drink have enabled research on novel Scottish botanicals and fermentation and distillation of Scottish fruits. For more information on the Scottish Craft Distillers Association and recent collaborations:

Scottish Craft Distillers Collaboration Prize:

Ogilvy Spirits:

 We are also  currently involved in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Edinburgh with MSc graduate David Wilkinson as KTP Associate and Head Distiller at Edinburgh Gin. Recent news includes the opening of the new distillery in Leith (covered in The Herald amongst others; May 12th 2016).

Dr Dawn Maskell

Dawn Maskell (Heriot-Watt/ICBD) is an Assistant Professor in Brewing and Distilling within the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) at Heriot-Watt University. Dawns first research interest was brewing yeast physiology, but in more recent yeast this has broadened. Today Dawn has research interests in Saccharomyces cerevisiae  and fermentation for brewing and distilling, as well as the valorisation of brewing and distilling co-product streams. Dawn is a co-founder of Horizon Proteins, a spin-out from Heriot-Watt University. She was recently awarded a grant from Barth-Haas to investigate the impact of hops on brewing yeast physiology.