Posted 16 May 2019
"The Hands Free Hectare is an interesting story, especially from the marketing prospective and has created a lot of interest. Although, we’re very hands on at the brewery, so the aspect of being hands-free definitely stopped once it reached us!"
A special beer has been created from the barley grown and harvested in the Hands Free Hectare (HFHa) project and will soon be on sale in a local Shropshire pub.
The HFHa, run in partnership between Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions (now a Map of Ag company), started in 2016 with its team aiming to be the first in the world to grow, tend and harvest a crop without operators in the driving seats or agronomists on the ground.
They successfully harvested their crop of winter barley in September 2017.
Since then, the university’s Food Technology and Innovation department have been working in collaboration with Customs Laboratories in Milton Keynes to get the barley malted into a pale malt.
This has now been brewed into a special beer by Rowton Brewery near Telford, which is run by father and son team Jim and Steve Preston. Steve is a Harper alumnus who graduated in 2012 with BSc (Hons) Business Management and Marketing.
Steve said: “Because we’re a small brewery, we’re able to work with a smaller quantity of grain, which was obviously of benefit for the HFHa beer.
“It’s been nice to have the challenge of being innovative with this beer; working with a new grain and experimenting with the taste. Over the past 11 years, we’ve been working in a very traditional way; using high quality Marris Otter malt, the finest hops and water drawn from our own borehole.
“It’s also great that it’s something relating to Harper because of our connection to the place.
“The HFHa is an interesting story, especially from the marketing prospective and has created a lot of interest. Although, we’re very hands on at the brewery, so the aspect of being hands-free definitely stopped once it reached us!
“It’s turned out to be a great summer beer. Anyone who’d like to try it can find out when it’s on the bar on our Facebook page.”
The beer will soon be on tap at The Pheasant Inn in Wellington, hopefully this coming weekend (May 18 and 19) but keep up-to-date through the brewery’s Facebook page.