1. ITV Report

New honey beer partnership creates a buzz in South Wales

The beer is made using honey from Cardiff University's own beehives. Credit: ITV News

Cardiff University scientists have joined forces with a Bridgend brewery to create a beer using honey from the university's own beehives.

Mêl – which means ‘honey’ in Welsh – is the result of a collaboration between the Bang On Brewery and microbiologists from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The idea stemmed from the university's Pharmabees project, which is looking at the potential health benefits of natural plant-based products.

Professor in Microbiology Les Baillie realised the honey and hops they were using would also lend themselves well to beer. Meanwhile, brewery founder Neil Randle was thinking about making a botanical brew using locally-sourced produce.

After the two were introduced by a mutual friend, they decided to work together to make it happen.

As a university, we are interested in supporting Welsh industry. So this is a really nice example of how Cardiff University - one of the biggest universities in the world - is actually helping to develop product ranges, but also making something that the rest of Wales will appreciate.

– Prof Les Baillie

It was an instant meeting of minds. All we've tried to do is take what nature provides, naturally, and put it into a beer.

– Neil Randle, brewery founder
Microbiologist Les and microbrewer Neil decided to join forces after realising they shared an interest in botanicals. Credit: ITV News

Beer chef Craig Jackson was also on board.

I was given the ingredients and for about the first 12 hours I sat scratching my head looking at the screen on the computer, thinking where on earth do I go with this? It was breaking down ingredients I'd never dreamt of having to use in cookery or in drink, but it was good fun.

– Craig Jackson, beer chef
Beer chef Craig Jackson was responsible for brewing the new beer. Credit: ITV News

It's hoped the beer could be the first in a series of botanical brews - potentially including a non-alcoholic version.

The honey beer is also proving a sweet success for the local education sector.

A portion of the profits are coming back to the university to support our education.

We have a big project working with schools in south Wales where we provide beehives to local schools. We go in and talk to the children about how important bees and diversity is. Some of those projects will now be supported by the results of this particular collaboration.

– Prof Les Baillie

Watch the full report by Emily Gadd below: