Sheffield Students' Honey Beer named 'best in UK'

Best Beer Student Team

A team of Sheffield students won the UK national round of the AB InBev Best Beer Competition, after creating a beer using honey grown in the University’s own beehives.

Arjun Krishna, Damini Mahajan, Alexandra Nicolau and Martin Fuentes took first prize with their ‘114 (one-one-four) Sheffield Students’ Beer’ at the grand final in Belgium at the Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev annual competition to find the best student –made beer.

AB InBev are one of the major actors of the beer industry around the world and owners of Stella Artois and Budweiser among other famous brands. The objective of this year’s competition was to develop a new beer concept, appealing to the students of each team’s university. The beer also had to be sustainable and in line with AB InBev’s core values.

In November 2012 two Marketing MSc students received an invitation from Dr. Panayiota Alevizou on behalf of two Engineering MSc students, directed by their professor Dr. Stephen Wilkinson of the Chemical Engineering Department. The invitation consisted of a request to join a team that would represent The University of Sheffield in this year’s competition.

The students took the challenge, coming up with 114 Sheffield Students’ Beer, which in their words is “an outstanding smooth, crisp blonde beer with a refreshing taste and a tinge of honey. The bready notes of the malt and the sweetness of honey on the nose and palate are kept in check by the 'piny' bitterness from the unique blend of hops”. In other words, they say, it’s like "winter afternoon in a glass".

This 4,5% ABV beer is brewed in Sheffield in partnership with The Sheffield Brewery Co. Ltd., which kindly accepted the team’s proposition to be part of this competition.

114 Sheffield Students' Beer LogoThey describe the idea behind it’s name: “The brand name 114 represents the number of selected students enrolled at the time of the University’s foundation in 1905 – our past and heritage. The honey used to brew it (represented by the bee) comes from the University’s beehives and shows our commitment and support towards sustainability in the local environment. The white rose of York gives a signature of locality to the product and the tagline indicates its origin and destination – by students, for students. All these elements are combined in our logo”.

After developing the brand concept the team knocked on the Students’ Union door for further advice and guidance. It was then that the Students’ Union, along with Sheffield brewery, became two important players in the 114 story. Graeme Wood, Commercial Operations Manager of the Students’ Union shared his experience about working with the students involved. “This has been an amazing project to assist with. The team captured the essence of the University in so many ways from the original student numbers to the links with our bio-diversity project. The sampling events allowed Sheffield students to contribute to the process as well. The end product is stunning and I’m delighted but not altogether surprised how well they have done in the competition”.

The team also received invaluable help from the Union’s president Abdi Suleiman and Interval Cafe Manager Chris Aucott.

It was with the Union’s funding and Chris’ help that the team was able to launch an innovative marketing campaign. The viral campaign featured “teasers” in the form of posters displaying only the brand name, which were spread all around the University. The mystery behind the teasers was revealed a week later along with an invitation to a free beer tasting session at the Interval Café. The event proved to be highly successful and 114 received very positive reactions from both students and staff at the University.

These activities gave the team enough evidence to support a strong concept in the competition, competing against student teams from over 130 universities from around the country and Belgium.

After advancing past the regional stage, 114 Sheffield Students’ Beer went on to win the UK final hosted on 20th March at AB InBev’s offices in Luton. They unfortunately lost out to local Belgian team Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in the Grand Final in AB InBev’s headquarters in Brussels on 30 April.

However, their spirits could not be dampened by not scooping first prize. Speaking of the results, team 114 told us: "We are proud to have won the competition in the UK, which according to the organisers had more than 150 participants, whereas the competition in Belgium had only 15. So, we are really pleased with our achievement overall. We would like to thank everyone who has given their support to the project.
We are glad for the opportunity we were given to be a part of the University's history; and we are sure that more interesting things will come in the future".

To watch the video developed by the team for the competition visit http://bit.ly/ZKD05G

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