Hallam Bailey

Hallam Bailey

Microbiologist/Brewer, Queenstown
Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

When Hallam Bailey traded in his call centre job for university study, little did he know that this move would lead him to creating the world’s first probiotic beer and big dreams of opening his own brewery.

“I’ve always loved science, so when I was 24 I quit my call centre job and enrolled in AUT’s Diploma in Applied Science with the intention of studying environmental science. But my first microbiology class made me fall in love with the subject, and I ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

“One of the highlights of my studies was having the freedom to pursue my own research project in my final year. I decided to manufacture a barley-based gluten-free beer by reducing the hordein proteins to fill a gap in the current craft beer market, however I ended up creating the world’s first reported probiotic beer. That was a huge feeling of elation for me!”

After graduating from AUT in 2021, he now hopes to take his passion for brewery further.

“I’ve just moved to Queenstown to pursue my career, and my next step is to open a brewery of my own using the probiotic beer and hopefully starting a thriving business.”

Highlights and support
There were plenty of highlights throughout his time at university, Hallam says.

“The biggest achievement for me was obviously graduating, but being on the student council and helping overcome some of the concerns students had around the COVID-19 lockdowns felt like my favourite achievement. Another thing I’m proud of is overcoming my fear of public speaking as I realised that if you know your subject matter, it’s not actually that daunting. I also loved the social life you get with both your friends and staff who also become friends.”

He is grateful for the support of the academic staff throughout his degree, but says there’s one lecturer that had a particularly strong impact.

“There are several lecturers that really pulled me through, including Dr Brent Seale, Dr Rothman Kam, Associate Professor Colleen Higgins, Professor Allan Blackman and Associate Professor Kat Bolstad.

“But if there was one lecturer, one class, that made me go for my degree all guns blazing, it would have to be my first microbiology lecture with Associate Professor Donna Lacap-Bugler. She made me realise that I was actually good at this subject and made me feel like I had the ability to accomplish something great, even when I didn’t feel as confident in my own ability.”

Advice for other students
Hallam’s advice for other students is simple: make the most of your time at university.

“Talk to everyone and broaden your horizons. You have few opportunities to really change your life around, and this is a big one.”

Never make assumptions, he adds.

“Don’t assume you know something, and don’t assume your lecturer knows what you’re struggling with.”

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