Lifelong brewer helps bring industry-grade equipment to grade-A brew lab

Thu, Sep 17, 2015

Langley, B.C. – Last year, Newlands Systems paid it forward in a big way.

North America’s premier brewing equipment manufacturer has worked on hundreds of projects over the past two and a half decades, supplying big brewing companies and small craft brewers alike with the equipment they need to perfect a fine-tasting brew.

One of their latest ventures was to take that state-of-the-art equipment and customize it specifically for instructional purposes, so that the industry’s next generation of brewers, brew pub owners and beer business professionals could hone their craft on the tanks, vessels and controls they’ll work with out in the field.

The Abbotsford-based company headed up by lifelong brewer Brad McQuhae donated a 2 HL Newlands Pilot Brewing System, along with invaluable expertise to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) new instructional brew lab in Langley, which held it’s official grand opening Sept.16.

“One of the reasons I wanted to get involved with KPU’s brewing and brewery operations program is I’ve always felt education is important, and the industry in North America has lacked the same sort of educational programs found in Europe,” said McQuhae, who explained that having proper, scalable brewing equipment that mirrors what’s found in industry is a key part of a brewing education.

“Simply put: if students train on simple equipment that isn’t industry grade, they won’t learn the knowledge they need to be employed,” he said.

McQuhae has a spent a lifetime collecting that knowledge.

“I originally started home brewing when I was 14. I put the beer in champagne bottles but didn’t drink it – it tasted horrible. But I was a bit of an entrepreneur, so I sold some of what I’d made to the older kids at 50 cents a bottle,” he said.

“Years went by and I continued to brew, somewhat more successfully. I eventually found myself studying biochemistry and microbiology in Victoria, and it turns out that I was learning excellent skills for improving my understanding of brewing.”

Coupling a background in science with hands-on trade knowledge is part of what’s led to McQuhae’s 25 successful years in the industry, where his clients with Newlands include Molson, Labatt, Central City Brewing, Steamworks, Brooklyn Brewing, Boston Beer Company and Miller Coors Brewing, to name seven out of hundreds.

If there is another ingredient that’s led to his success, it’s passion – something McQuhae is generously sharing with KPU students.

“Having the opportunity to get a quality education in the science of brewing, to train on the best industry equipment and to craft connections with industry is a recipe for success. I’m happy to have a hand in supporting B.C.’s next generation of brewers, and to be doing that alongside KPU.”

McQuhae sits on the advisory committee that oversees KPU’s two-year brewing and brewery operations diploma. The program’s second intake of students began learning the science of brewing this fall, in a brand new, customized brew lab fitted with top-of-the-line equipment thanks to Newlands Systems.

For more information about the program, visit More information about Newlands is available at

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at

Photos from the event are available on Flickr.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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