It’s only the first draught: Scots students create new beer


From left, Damon Scott, Steven Kersley and Kevin Emms

FOUR Scots students have taken undergraduates’ legendary love of beer to a new level – by producing their own brew for sale while still studying.

The friends at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, have created a strong beer called Finch which goes on sale in the city later this month.

The 6.5% beer was created as part of the students’ thesis.

But Kevin Emms, 23, Damon Scott, 25, Steven Kersley, 22 and Colin Lymer, 26, decided to create their own company and sell Finch to the public.

The students are completing their degrees at the university’s International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) and are the first to produce a beer while still on the course.

They have already brewed enough Finch to fill 3,000 bottles and 15 nine-gallon casks.

Steven has taken on the role of sales and marketing manager. He said:

“It’s never been done before – students selling beer to the pub.

“The idea came about because it was felt that the students weren’t getting enough industry experience and they wanted to incorporate that into part of the course. “

He added:

“The project was to see if students were capable of launching a beer from scratch.

“They threw us into the deep end to see if we could adapt and learn new skills. “

The team only started the process in May but since then have created their company, perfected the beer, and are ready to launch on July 21.

Each of the bottles of Finch will be numbered and customers will be able to read about the story behind the brew at well-known Edinburgh pubs such as the Guildford Arms and Jenny Ha’s.

Steven said:

“Before I started this course, I was more of a distiller and hadn’t really experienced too many different types of flavours of beers.

“I really like this one, it’s a bit different.

“I’m really excited. We had a bottle made up the other day and it was just sitting there and we got really fired up. “

The students were helped by the city’s Stewart Brewing to get their product ready.

Founder Steve Stewart, a graduate of the Heriot-Watt course, described Finch as

“novel’ and


He said:

“They are a very talented group, and having the opportunity to put theory into practice, to develop a beer from scratch through to seeing it on bar and drinking it with your friends, is a great learning experience. “