Symmetry Brewery have cultured enough Ginger Beer Plant - a direct strain from from the original DSMZ the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures - to produce in scale the best quality, the most unique and rare drink. 


        Our product is made available to people that seek authenticity in their ginger beverage from a select few bars and restaurants in and around Hong Kong, and of course available direct on our website here 

REAL GBP History

The Ginger-Beer Plant, and the Organisms composing it : a Contribution to the Study of Fermentation- Yeasts and Bacteria. By H. Marshall Ward, Sc.D., F.R.S., F.L.S., late Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, Professor of Botany at the Forestry School, Royal Indian Engineering College, Cooper's Hill. Received January 14, — Read January 21, 1892.

“The whole question as to whence it was first derived, in fact, is enshrouded in mystery”- Professor H. M . Ward

In 1887 my attention was directed to a curious substance, or structure, popularly known in many parts of the country as the Ginger-beer Plant, from its association with the domestic manufacture of the well-known summer beverage so often purchased in villages and towns in various parts of the British Isles, where it is usually put up in brown stone bottles, with tied corks. My earliest specimens of the Ginger- beer plant were obtained from Mr. Thistleton Dyer, of Kew, who called my attention to its mysterious nature, and from Professor Bayley Balfour, of Edinburgh, then Professor of Botany in the University of Oxford, who exhibited specimens at a meeting of the Linnean Society in 1887 Since then I have obtained specimens from various sources in this country and abroad; and during the progress of a long series of investigations have elicited a number of facts as to the constitution and behaviour of this remarkable agent of fermentation, which, whatever their importance, cannot fail to be of interest to all biologists.

    In addition to the gentlemen referred to, who kindly provided me with specimens obtained from Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, and even from North America, I have also to thank Dr. Bansome, of Nottingham, and Mr. Adrian Brown, of Burton- on-Trent, for specimens from the towns referred to, and Messrs. Leete and Appleyard, for further supplies from Coventry and elsewhere.


        It appears that while, on the one hand, the Ginger-beer Plant has long been known in the rural districts of this country, and even abroad, as a mysterious agent which brings about the fermentation of saccharine solutions, to which ginger has been added, and transforms them into an acid effervescing beverage, usually known as home-made ginger-beer, great or even total ignorance prevails, on the other hand, as to the


“It is said that the Ginger-beer Plant was introduced into Britain by soldiers from the Crimea, in 1855” - Professor Bayley Balfour


original source of the "plant," and very little indeed is known as to its real nature. The following studies will at least clear up many of the difficulties on the latter point; but I have met with no success in direct answer to enquiries as to when the Ginger-beer Plant was first discovered, and how it was introduced into this country, or what first led people to employ it in making the beverage which gives it its name.


          Professor Bayley Balfour states :* "it is said the Ginger-beer Plant was intro- introduced into Britain by soldiers from the Crimea, in 1855 ;" but so far as I can discover this was a mere conjecture, and is not to be taken as an accepted piece of history. Dr. Ransome informs me, in a letter dated April, 1 891, " some say it was brought from Italy/' but this, again, I have failed to substantiate more definitely. The whole question as to whence it was first derived, in fact, is enshrouded in mystery ; and it is to be hoped that these studies may so draw attention to the matter that some light will be thrown upon it at a future time. All agree that it is handed on from family to family much in the same way as yeast or " barm " is by brewers and bakers.


  As to its nature, the most conflicting views have been put forward. Passing over various mere conjectures to the effect that it consists of forms of Penicillium, Mucor, or other Mould-Fungi, the sequel will show that the nearest approach to the real state of affairs is Balfour's suggestions that it is composed of a Yeast and a Bacterium. Grove, in his ' Synopsis of the Bacteria and Yeast Fungi,' regards it as consisting of a Yeast, Mycoderma, various species of Bacillus, together with Pasteur's "Mucor- ferment"; but he gives no evidence of having examined the matter in detail, and, as the sequel will show, he entirely misses the main point. Notes on the subject have appeared at various times in the 'Gardeners Chronicle' and elsewhere, but they throw no light on the essential nature of the Ginger-beer Pant.


          It will be sufficiently evident, therefore, that the mystery was well worth attacking, and that practically nothing was known about it before this investigation was commenced. It may, however, also be noted, that had I known how long and difficult a task I had set myself, the attempt would possibly have been abandoned at an early date.

“some say it     was brought   from Italy”                - Dr Ransome