About Us 2017-06-15T08:31:35+00:00



With both managers and staff having close links to the city the time seemed right to move back to Sunderland, this time with the purchase of Butterknowle’s award winning 12 barrel plant. Darwin pride themselves on the wide range and quality of their beers. This has only been possible thanks to the brewery having access to it’s original 18 gallon test plant.

The Darwin Brewery has always supported training courses at Brewlab with students gaining placement and development experience in brewing, marketing and sales. Today after further developments of Brewlab to a new dedicated location Darwin has moved to make best use of the advanced facilities available at West Quay Court in Sunderland.

Regular and unique beers are produced and our recently appointed brewer, Victoria Thomson, is ably assisted by Brewlab staff and expert resources. Our beers are produced to a high quality specification and are increasingly diverse including lagers, continental styles and historic creations.

Working with partners in the brewing industry

On projects to develop unique beers

Brewlab assess ingredients and isolate specialist yeasts to create exciting new tastes or to resurrect historical brews. They were paramount in initiating the research to produce Flag Porter – the authentic recreation of a porter beer using samples obtained from an 19th Century shipwreck. Brewlab has also worked on the resurrection of the classic Victorian malt Chevallier, producing beers from one of the first commercial Chevallier malts and confirming their quality to be comparable to beers produced using modern malts. With Chevallier’s inherent disease resistance this will allow better opportunities to promote low or no pesticide barley.

For more information about courses or to discuss laboratory services please contact Brewlab on 0191 549 9450 or info@brewlab.co.uk

Meet The Team


Keith was co-founder of the Darwin Brewery in 1994 having previously brewed with the Flag Brewery from 1986 when Brewlab began.  He developed his interest and skills in brewing as a microbiologist and has applied these to developing novel beers for Darwin as well as for historical recreations. 

Keith also teaches microbiology at the University of Sunderland and believed that there is a great future for applying a wider variety of microbes in the brewing industry. He looks forward to seeing these develop in future Darwin beers.

Meet the Team


Victoria studied International Business at Edinburgh University. It was during her third year studying in Leuven, Belgium for a year that She discovered her love for beer.

After spending a couple of years travelling in Australia, Tori returned with the idea of learning how to brew. She looked up brewing courses in the UK and found Brewlab. Tori completed the Certificate course at Brewlab in October 2014 and was luckily offered the job of head brewer at Darwin Brewery after her course. She love’s being able to work with her hands and the creativity that brewing provides.