Bench Brewing partners with Niagara College Teaching Brewery

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.

Matt Giffen, president of Bench Brewing Company (third from left) presents a $30,000 donation to Niagara College president Dan Patterson (second from left) to establish the Bench Brewing Graduating Student Award. Pictured (from left) are Steve Gill (Niagara College Learning Enterprises Corp. general manager), Dan Patterson (NC president), Matt Giffen (president, Bench Brewing Company), Gary Torraville (NC Canadian Food and Wine Institute associate dean), Craig Youdale (NC Canadian Food and Wine Institute dean), and program professor Jon Downing (NC Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management).


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.

The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation Donates $100,000 to Support Instructional Equipment at Niagara College

Niagara College Environmental Technician – Field and Laboratory program students, from left, Christine Combe, Jon Banninga, and Katie Bristow, share their applied learning experience in the program’s outdoor classroom at the beautiful Wetland Ridge Trail at NC’s Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, with The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation representatives Angelo Ruscitti, Suzie Bowles, president/chair Adrian Barnet and Ron Hartle. In recognition of their generous gift, Niagara College has named the outdoor classroom in honour of The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation.

The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation, a strong supporter of Niagara College (NC), has announced a gift of $100,000, the latest in a history of support for student initiatives at the College.

This gift will support the purchase of instructional equipment to help ensure NC graduates have the critical skills they need to meet employer expectations and ever-evolving industry needs.

In honour of this generous gift, the College has named the ‘outdoor classroom’ at the beautiful Wetland Ridge Trail at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, ‘The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation Outdoor Classroom.’ This area is used by students in the Environmental Technician – Field and Laboratory program.

Since 1979, The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation has supported student initiatives including: 112 scholarships and bursaries in the environmental programs; Capital Campaigns; Gifts-in-Kind; and, the latest donation of $100,000 —  $600,000 in donations in all.

“We are grateful to The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation for its generous gift of $100,000,” said NC president Dan Patterson. “This continued support is yet another demonstration of the Foundation’s leadership role in making our Niagara community a better place to live, learn and work.”

College graduates are a backbone of many occupations, skills and trades that are crucial to a strong economy, said Patterson.

“Ontario Paper was a highly successful company due to the availability of skilled labour in the Niagara region,” said Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation president and chairperson Adrian Barnet. “Part of the company’s legacy is giving back to the community that ensured its success for over 100 years of paper-making. Niagara College provides access to cutting edge tools to teach students the skills they will need to contribute to new and traditional industry areas.

“We want our children to have jobs and Niagara College plays a key role in ensuring that they get rewarding and prosperous employment here in the Niagara region and around the world.”

Added Patterson: “access to state-of-the-art equipment is the cornerstone of successful applied education. This gift supports the hands-on training our students need as they prepare for meaningful and productive careers.”

The outdoor classroom has been used for soil and water sampling, species identification and ecosystem restoration since the construction of the campus in 1999.

“We are fortunate to have access to the outdoor classroom,” said Al Unwin, associate dean of the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies. “Experience is what makes Niagara College unique and prepares our students for entering the workforce with relevant experience and skills.

“We are grateful for The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation’s generous support and are honoured to dedicate this site in their name.”

The Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation has a long history of contributing to the development and maintenance of a healthy economic, educational, social and environmental climate throughout the Niagara region, by offering financial support to various charitable organizations.

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. For more information, visit: