SABMiller is to build a GBP2m (US$3.3m) global research brewery in the UK city of Nottingham.

Extending the shelf-life of beer and making the brewing process more sustainable will be key research themes at the pilot brewery, which will be built as part of the University of Nottingham's School of Biosciences.

Construction of the 1,000-litre capacity brewery will take around 12 months and is set to begin in March 2010.

SABMiller's chief brewer, professor Barry Axcell, said: "Pilot breweries have, up until now, been places where new brands are brewed and trialled. What we are creating is a facility that can simulate a whole range of brewing conditions, allowing us to develop expertise, products and procedures that will ensure SABMiller leads the industry in brewing innovation."

SABMiller's research brewer, James van der Watt, will run the pilot brewery.

SABMiller already sponsors the University of Nottingham's chair of brewing science, professor Katherine Smart.

Smart is leading a research project to exmaine ways to reuse spent grain from the brewing process to generate energy, as part of a five-year bioenergy project announced by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council this year.

SABMiller is one of 15 companies funding the GBP27m public-private research project.