Jon Downing has lived a life in pursuit of making better craft beer. From the cellars of an English pub at the age of 14, to his current position as brewmaster at the Niagara College Teaching Brewery today, Downing has been involved in a steady succession of opening micro, craft and pub breweries and Brew on Premise (BOP) stores, designing brewing systems, components, and brew recipes (about 3,000 to date) around the world, dating back to 1986.
The part-time professor also runs a consulting company. He has created brew recipes (about 3,000 to date) around the world, and his complete brewery projects to date include 68 brewpubs; 26 BOP stores; and 12 microbreweries.
In all, more than 108 commissioned breweries now have 400-plus brewers trained in some part by Downing.
Because of his reputation, he has been called on to assist equipment manufacturers in the design and improvement of systems, including Continental Brewing Systems, Diachem Chemicals and Price Schonstrom Inc. These wide-ranging and international contacts have in turn brought partnership and research opportunities to the Niagara College Teaching Brewery, as leading-edge technologies are tested on-site.
At the Teaching Brewery, Downing supervises all beer production, while teaching several courses in the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program, including introduction to brewing; basic brewing; practical brewing; and specialty brewing.