Category: CFWI News

NC students host Project Brew

Mark Hostrawser accepts the Matt Soos Memorial Fund

right to left- Dow Scoggins, US Open Beer Championship director; Jon Downing, NC brewmaster; Dan Patterson, NC president

Student-made craft beers were in the spotlight on August 11 as NC Brewmaster students presented Project Brew Expo 150.

Held at the St. Catharines Market Square, Project Brew was hosted by students in the final semester class of the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program, who displayed a selection of 17 beer styles that were locally developed and produced at the NC Teaching Brewery.

The evening event drew members of the college community –including president Dan Patterson – as well as the general public.

At the event, Dow Scoggins, director of the U.S. Open Beer Championship, presented  two bronze medals won by the College at this year’s competition: for Beer 101 Strong and Beer 101 Bitter.

The Matt Soos Memorial Fund, which is awarded annually to a student who brews the best beer in the Niagara College Annual Brewmaster Competition, was also distributed at the event to Mark Hostrawser. Hostrawser was awarded $4,500 and his signature beer was served at the event in alongside the other student beers.

Project Brew is hosted by students in their final year of the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program who create the beers as well as organize the festival.

Wine grad behind new De Simone Vineyards in NOTL

A Niagara College grad is behind a new winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Vincenzo De Simone was a 2011 graduate of NC’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program. He is taking on the role of winemaker at  De Simone Vineyards.

The winery celebrated its grand opening on the weekend of August 5-7. It is located at 865 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake.

About Vincenzo De Simone

As a young child, Vincenzo Robert De Simone always enjoyed listening to stories of his family members and their winemaking history. Little did he know that he would one day follow a similar path. Not only did he listen to their stories, but winemaking was also in his blood. He spent over 9 years mastering his winemaking techniques and skills at various local wineries before embarking on his own adventure.

Vincenzo also studied winemaking at Niagara College, graduating in 2011 from the Winery and Viticulture program. Vincenzo strongly believes in the saying “great wine is made in the vineyard”, and is very knowledgeable in both viticulture and winemaking practices.

The techniques he uses in the vineyard are the first step to creating premium, high quality wines. “Winemaking is an art”, says Vincenzo, “but it must be felt from the heart”. Vincenzo is very passionate about winemaking and he puts his skills to the test when it comes to making wine. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and it shows in the final product.

-Info from De Simone Vineyards website:


Bench Brewing partners with Niagara College Teaching Brewery; scholarships awarded to future leaders in the Ontario craft brew industry

Bench Brewing Company president Matt Giffen (front, fourth from left), the first recipient of the Bench Brewing Graduating Student Award, Matthew Shea (front, fifth from left), and NC president Dan Patterson (front, third from right), are joined by students and faculty from the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program and the team from Bench Brewing Company to celebrate a $30,000 gift from Bench Brewing.


With a $30,000 donation to Niagara College, Bench Brewing is pleased to announce its long-term partnership with the Niagara College Teaching Brewery to award three scholarships each year to outstanding graduates starting August 9, 2017.  As the craft brewing industry continues to grow in quality and reputation, these scholarships will continue fostering innovation, inspire high standards of excellence and prepare graduates for professional success.

“We are honoured to begin a long-term partnership with the Niagara College Teaching Brewery in providing an annual scholarship for outstanding graduating students,” said Matt Giffen, founder and president of Bench Brewing. “These talented new graduates represent the future of the Ontario craft beer industry as it continues to grow and strive for new levels of quality and innovation.”

Partnering with the Niagara College Teaching Brewery, Canada’s first and largest teaching brewery, will help further academic and professional excellence not only for graduates, but also incoming students.

“We thank Bench brewing for its generous support that not only supports the future of the craft beer industry, but our mission of ‘enriching lives and fulfilling dreams’ of our students,” said Craig Youdale, dean of Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute.

“The very generous award set up by Matt of Bench Brewing recognizes two of the key attributes of any brewer and their products, quality and consistency,” said Brewmaster professor Jon Downing. “By recognizing the high level of continual effort over four semesters both in the classroom, as a volunteer at events and in the brewery, Matthew Shea is a natural first recipient of the award.”

The Bench Brewing Scholarship – of $2,000– will be awarded to three NC Brewmaster students each year for the next five years. It will be awarded to a student in the final term of the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program who exhibits academic excellence, excellent brewing skills, and collaboration and a passion for the industry.

The first recipient of a Bench Brewing Scholarship is Thornhill resident Matthew Shea, a university graduate who followed his dreams to enter the craft brewing industry two years ago by enrolling in NC’s Brewmaster program. Now a recent graduate of the program (June 2017), Shea applauded the support he has received from the craft brew industry as a student and said he was grateful for the Bench Brewing scholarship.

“Financial assistance is greatly beneficial to students,” said Shea. “Students face a lot of pressure and time requirements trying to balance school, work, and family duties, so any assistance is greatly appreciated.”

About Bench Brewing

Currently under construction, Bench Brewing Company is proudly located near Beamsville, Ontario in the Twenty Valley of the Niagara Escarpment. Bench Brewing embraces the local agricultural traditions of the area and is inspired by the Belgian farmhouse-style of brewing. Opening in 2017 in the converted historic Maple Grove Schoolhouse, the site will feature a three-acre hops field, wild ale and barrel fermentation program, tap room and beer garden.

About Niagara College

Currently celebrating its 50th year as a College of Applied Arts and Technology, NC is a leader in applied education and a key contributor to the economies of Niagara and Ontario. A regional college with global reach, NC offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs. Visit



Food becomes art

The recent edition of the Canadian Museum Associations magazine Muse is now available, featuring an article from CFWI dean Craig Youdale.

Youdale’s article focuses on the collaboration between CFWI and the Museum Association for the Great Canadian Masters book, which pairs Canadian chefs with recipes inspired by paintings and their favourite Canadian Artwork. It also features the CFWI’s involvement with the CMA Gala dinner in Ottawa

It is available to its membership as well as at more than 500 museum locations across Canada.

View it here: Canadian Museum Association_July Aug 2017

Déjà brew: Niagara College Teaching Brewery wins again at U.S. Open Beer Championship

Niagara College’s Teaching Brewery professors and students are celebrating another round of success at the 2017 United States Open Beer Championship.

NC’s Teaching Brewery earned two bronze medals at the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship earlier this month. More than 6,000 beers representing more than 100 different styles from breweries from around the world were submitted into this year’s competition to be considered by judges from England, Canada and the United States.

Out of the 24 medals won by Canadian breweries, NC’s Teaching Brewery earned two bronze medals – one for its Beer 101 Bitter and another for its Beer 101 Strong. This marks two years in a row and three years out of four that Beer 101 Strong has earned bronze at the U.S. Open. It is the ninth award in five years for Beer101 Bitter, which is also sold in bottles as Butler’s Bitter.

The Beer 101 Strong is a strong British ale brewed to be blended in other beers or served on special occasions. Originally brewed as a Christmas celebration ale, the brew was so popular, it was brought back and renamed. The brew has won five awards to date: gold (2016) at the Ontario Brewing Awards, silver (2015) at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup, and three bronze medals (2014 as Brewmaster Strong, 2015 and 2017) at the U.S. Open Beer Championships.

The multiple award-winning Beer 101 Bitter — which captured bronze in the Bitter category – was created in 2012 (as Butler’s Bitter) to celebrate the bicentennial of the war of 1812. With a 4.4% alcohol content, this English style Bitter has won numerous contests already including gold (2012), silver (2011, 2013, 2015) and bronze (2013) at the U.S. Open, gold (2013) and silver (2017) at the Ontario Brewing awards, gold at the Canadian Brewing awards (2013), silver 2013 and bronze (2014) at the Dublin Beer Cup (2013), and bronze at the World Beer Championships (2014).

“The fact that brews win in multiple years shows that the students are learning how to brew consistent high quality beers,” said NC brewmaster and professor Jon Downing. “Different groups of students or classes have brewed every single one of our entries.”

Downing who serves as director of judging for the U.S. Open Beer Championships – but is not involved with judging entries from the NC Teaching Brewery – travelled to Oxford, Mississippi for the competition judging. He was accompanied by 15 students from the College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program who had the opportunity to help facilitate judging and serve samples, among other duties.

“Having the students participate in the judging is a great real world experience for them,” said Downing “Apart from the exposure to many different beers, breweries and the sensory training that enhances, they also have the opportunity to judge with educators, owners, brewers, writers and many other great beer folk.”

For Mike Lyons, who worked as a medic/firefighter in the Alberta Oil fields before enrolling in the two-year Brewmaster program at NC, it was the second time he had the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Open Beer Championship.

“As a student in the program, it is amazing to see the College place in a couple categories,” Lyons said. “It is reassuring that the beers we are making are not only providing us with valuable knowledge and experience, but the final product is at a comparable level of quality to great craft breweries across North America and the world.

“I think it gives a lot of merit to the program at Niagara College and legitimizes its place as an important member of Ontario’s craft beer industry.”

In addition to the two winning beers from its Teaching Brewery, Niagara College’s research division developed another beer which won gold in the non-alcoholic category: MADD Virgin Craft Brewed Lager (Hill Street Beverage, Canada). More than three years ago, MADD Virgin Drinks turned to Research & Innovation at Niagara College (formerly Niagara Research) to develop a beer with 0% alcohol. In addition to college researchers, product development tapped into the expertise of staff and students at the NC Teaching Brewery.

For info about the U.S. Open Beer Championship visit


Niagara College medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship

Silver, First Draft Ale (Bitter)
Silver, Stomp (Old Ale)
Bronze, Rudolph’s Red Nose Ale (Barley Wine)

Gold, Butler’s Bitter (Bitter)
Gold, Helenboch (Munich Helles)
Silver, First Draft Ale (English Summer Ale)
Silver, Bertwell’s Rudolph’s (Wood/Barrel Aged)

NC Teaching Brewery ranked No. 6 brewery in competition

Silver, First Draft Ale (English Summer Ale)
Bronze, Butler’s Bitter (Bitter)
Bronze, Brewmaster Wheat (German Wheat Beer)

Bronze, Brewmaster Strong (Old Ale)

Gold, Brewmaster Stout (Foreign Stout)
Silver, Butler’s Bitter/BEER 101 Bitter (Bitter)
Bronze, Liqueur de Malt (American Imperial Pilsner)

Bronze, Beer 101 Strong Ale (Old Ale)

NC’s award-winning brews are available for purchase at the NC Teaching Brewery retail outlet located at 135 Taylor Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake. The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Currently celebrating its 50th year as a College of Applied Arts and Technology, NC is a leader in applied education and a key contributor to the economies of Niagara and Ontario. A regional college with global reach, NC offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs.




Media inquiries, please contact:

Julie Greco

Communications specialist

Office: 905-735-2211 x 7368

Cell: 905-328-2532

NC Research team at the core of unique ‘hard cider’ launch

As a student and research associate at Niagara College, Ryan Monkman had the opportunity to work on the Reinhart cider project, an opportunity he says transformed him from “an average student into a world-ready professional.”

This summer season is perhaps the sweetest yet for Ryan Monkman. That’s because he’s basking in the glow of helping bring a unique cider beverage from Niagara College’s labs to licensed patios across Ontario this summer.

Available now at LCBO stores, Reinhart’s Red Apple Light Cider was part of a Research & Innovation project at the College when Monkman was a research associate there and a student of the Wine and Viticulture Technician program. Being able to now see the fruits of that work on sale to a welcoming public is nothing short of exhilarating, he said.

“A friend even asked if I’ve tried the new Reinhart’s cider!” Tried it? Monkman worked on the initial fermentation/trial in developing the first and only “light” beverage of its kind (at 3.8 percent alcohol) in the Canadian cider category.

That final product was the result of a close collaboration between the research team at the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre and Reinhart Foods Ltd., well known for its vinegars and baking ingredients.

Reinhart has significant experience in fermentation and capital-intensive, liquid-based manufacturing; however, the company did not have the necessary experience or equipment to develop a world-class hard apple cider beverage, explained Innovation Centre project manager Kristine Canniff.

“The NC research team handled everything from product development, competitive and sensory analysis and quality control, to knowledge transfer in providing final recipe and process” for making the cider at Reinhart’s site in Stayner, Ontario, said Canniff.

The 10-month project, which took place from January to October 2016, was funded by a College and Community Innovation Enhancement grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Reinhart decided to enter the craft market in the light cider category – and was set on providing a lower alcohol and “pure and natural” product and one made with a single ingredient: 100 percent Ontario apple cider, said Scott Singer, general manager and third-generation family member of Reinhart Foods.

“We are so proud that the quality of our product is to the highest degree we imagined: no artificial colours, flavours or additives,” he said, adding the “seasoned expertise” in the Research & Innovation division was what initially attracted Reinhart to the College.

This expertise includes the College’s Gavin Robertson, faculty research lead for the Reinhart project, and instructor with the NC Teaching Winery. Robertson is no stranger to the world of ciders: in 2015 he led a team of students at the Teaching Winery to develop the school’s first ever cider – called Cider 101 – a product currently for sale at the retail outlet.

Monkman is grateful for the opportunity to work on the development of a major product. “By engaging with a dedicated industry partner and research institution, I developed the skills and drive necessary to excel in a competitive market,” he said. “I was transformed from an average student into a world-ready professional.”


Where to find Reinhart’s Red Apple Light Cider

  • Available at LCBO stores across Ontario
  • The Big Feastival – Aug. 18 – 20 at Burl’s Creek, Oro-Medonte
  • Toronto Cider Festival – Aug. 26 at Sherbourne Common by Sugar Beach

Niagara College’s research team participates in one of many development tastings in the creation of Reinhart’s Red Apple Light Cider, now available at select LCBOs.


Food Starter and Niagara College offer unique mentoring expertise to budding food entrepreneurs

Generations of your family have relished Great Aunt Gertha’s seasoned gherkins, but would jars of the delicious homemade pickles fly off the local grocery store shelf?

Food Starter and Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute specialists may help you come up with the answer. The two have combined culinary skills and business marketing expertise to offer Food Business Feasibility workshops to budding entrepreneurs.

The intensive week-long workshops will help business hopefuls bring to life their ideas for food-based enterprises. Focusing on saleability, targeting customers, goal-setting and financial strategies, Food Starter – Canada’s trailblazing food business incubator and accelerator – and Niagara College – a leading college in pre-emptive, experiential learning – will offer expertise and marketing savvy to workshop participants.

“Food Starter can increase an entrepreneur’s chances of success in commercializing a food product because we offer all of the resources needed to go from concept to shelf,” said Food Starter executive director Dana McCauley. “We help entrepreneurs – from those right out of the gate with a great idea, to those who are concentrating on growing their business.”

Food Starter is a partner with the CFWI’s Expert Edge program, which offers the public expertise and knowledge in the fields of food, wine and beer, through its world-class staff of specialists.

“Expert Edge provides programming specially designed to support professional development and industry,” said CFWI dean Craig Youdale. “With Food Starter, we can contribute expertise for intensive, specialized sessions for those who want to take an idea to the next level and beyond.”

The partnership is focused on the long-term goal of creating opportunities within the job market.

Focusing on academic training, NC’s Expert Edge and Food Starter will work together to deliver specific courses to their client base – the College’s culinary innovation students as well as Food Starter business clients – to develop workshop programs and deliver the expert sessions. The partnership can also connect clients with the Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre, which offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes in the food and beverage sector.

“Entrepreneurial skills are valuable in new graduates and business people regardless of whether they are going to run their own businesses or work for others,” said McCauley. “Our partnership will help participants find jobs and test and launch their own business ideas.”

The premiere session will be held August 21-25 at the Aurora Public Library. Other courses are being scheduled and will be announced soon.

The Canadian Food and Wine Institute, located on Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, is the College’s centre for food wine and beer education. In addition to Benchmark Restaurant, it features on-campus learning enterprises including the NC Teaching Winery – Canada’s first and only commercial teaching winery – and the NC Teaching Brewery – also the first of its kind in Canada. The CFWI is also home to CFWI Innovation Centre. Visit

Food Starter is Canada’s trailblazing food business incubator and accelerator. Offering 20,000 sq.ft of small scale food production space as well as the training, mentorship and consulting that growing businesses need to develop and commercialize food business ideas, Food Starter is located at Keele and Lawrence in Toronto. Food Starter is ideal for entrepreneurs, early stage food businesses as well as growing companies who want to innovate and get to market quickly and successfully. Visit