Brewing a passion for NC graduate

Ian Evans, former NC Brewery Student

Ian Evans is a spring 2020 graduate of Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations program. He worked as a Brewery Student with Niagara College’s Teaching Brewery at the Daniel J. Patterson campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake and is now employed with Kensington Brewing Company Inc., as a Brewer.

Tell us about where you work:

I work as a Brewer at Kensington Brewery Company Inc. This brewery has a small brew pub in Toronto’s Kensington Market and a larger production site in Vaughan.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

As a Brewer, I work with a small production team which means you get your hands on all parts of the process – from brewing to cleaning tanks, filtration, and packaging.

I enjoy the work and how it varies day-by-day and the sense of accomplishment seeing what you have achieved at the end of a work day.

How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?

My time working with Research & Innovation definitely helped me bring lab skills to my real-world brewery career. It was valuable to be able to tell employers that I’ve helped work on bringing a new product to market at my time with R&I.

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

As a brewing student, getting to see the long process it takes to test hops was interesting. It is a lot of hard work and time to get the information that is important to hop growers and brewers.

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

The Brewmaster and Brewery Operations program brought me to Niagara College. I had decided I wanted to pursue brewing and this program is highly regarded. I was able to attend Niagara’s Brew Academy before signing up for the Brewmaster program and it was during that event that I knew I wanted to study at Niagara College.

Most memorable experience at NC?

I was lucky enough to participate in the Be World Ready trip to Munich, Germany. We got to go to places and see things that we would not have been able to see as students. It was a great, informative, and fun trip.

 “Your time at the College is very short, and you have access to the best equipment and people to teach you. Use that time wisely, learn as much as you can, and be hands on as much as possible.”

Is there a particular mentor who influenced you?

Victor North, Brew Student Liaison, in the School of Food & Wine Sciences, is the reason I signed up for the Beer Judge Certification Program test. I passed and am now a Certified Beer Judge. This has opened many opportunities for me and has led me to judge many competitions since graduating. I’ve also gotten to meet many people in the industry through judging and it has helped me expand my professional network.

What advice would you impart to current research students or future alumni?

Your time there is very short, and you have access to the best equipment and people to teach you. Use that time wisely, learn as much as you can, and be hands on as much as possible.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

There is always a lot to continually learn. I think it’s important to keep asking questions and learn why things are done a certain way. Knowing and understanding new concepts can lead to improved ways of doing things.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

I worked with my Head Brewer at Kensington Brewing Company Inc. to design a beer that went on to win a gold medal at the 2020 Canadian Brewing Awards, a silver at the 2022 Ontario Brewing Awards, and a silver at the inaugural Canada Beer Cup. So, I have to say this is one of the proudest achievements I’ve gotten since graduating from NC.

What are you passionate about at the moment?

NASA is currently testing a new rocket to bring humans back to the moon. The pictures they are able to send back to show the world of the moon are awe inspiring, so I’m pretty interested in that right now.

Interests outside of work? 

I read a lot, with my favourite genre being science fiction. Outside of work, you can also find me playing video games or enjoying biking in the summer.

If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?

“Be you.”