Towards the end of November 2012 two Marketing MSc students received an invitation from Dr. Panayiota Alevizou on behalf of two Engineering MSc students asking them to join the team that would represent The University of Sheffield in The Best Beer Competition 2012-2013.
This student competition is organised by AB InBev, one of the major players in the beer industry around the world and owners of Stella Artois and Budweiser, among other famous brands. The objective of the competition was to develop a new beer concept, appealing to the students of each team’s university (in this case The University of Sheffield). The beer also had to be sustainable and in line with AB InBev’s core values.
This is how Arjun Krishna and Damini Mahajan (Chemical Engineering), together with Alexandra Nicolau and Martin Fuentes (Marketing) teamed up to give life to 114 Sheffield Students’ Beer.
114 (one-one-four) 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, “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.
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 Student’s Union door for further advice and guidance. They then realised that the Union, along with Sheffield brewery, would become two important players in the 114 story. In the words of Graeme Wood, Commercial Operations Manager of the Student’s Union, “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 and the links with our bio diversity project and the sampling events allowed Sheffield Students to contribute to the process as well – the end product is stunning – and it is no surprise that they have progressed to the next stage of 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 more than 130 universities from around the country and Belgium.
After advancing past the regional and national stages, 114 Sheffield Students’ Beer is now heading to the final hosted on the 30th April in Brussels, Belgium.
The team is positive that its hard work, together with the support received and strong concept will take the University’s name to the top and place Sheffield on the map of European student brewing.