By Jordan Duff
Beer. Diversity. and Dominion City Brewing Co. announced last week that they will be offering a scholarship through Niagara College Teaching Brewery program to foster a more inclusive culture within brewing. It’s an amazing initiative.
Ren Navarro, who is Beer. Diversity. , speaks of the importance of this scholarship, “Obviously, people of diverse backgrounds are in the beer course, but we don’t see them reflected in the media,” explains Navarro, “This scholarship is saying ‘if you’re underrepresented in our craft beer community, we want to know that we see you and want you to feel welcomed.’ It’s an exciting initiative.”
The $1,000 scholarship will be made available to a student in their second to fourth term of the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program who is from a diverse background presently underrepresented in the brewing industry. On top of the financial support is an 8-week paid internship at the Dominion City brewery.
“This scholarship is really about finding talented, passionate brewers and providing an opportunity for someone with a background presently underrepresented to have an opportunity to get started, says Josh McJannett is the co-founder of DCBC. “Where things go from there remains to be seen, but certainly our thought is that if we want our industry to be relevant, growing and sustainable for the future we have to do more to open the door on the tent to welcome more people in. We think of this as a first step.”
A first step, but an important one. In many ways, the craft beer world is welcoming and inclusive, but it could be better. This isn’t the industry’s only foray into becoming more inclusive, but the effort widens the scope to bring more people into the craft beer world. This scholarship helps improve the industry’s culture and highlights the need for improvement.
This is where Navarro’s initiative plays an important role in talking about those who are overlooked. “Beer. Diversity. is about making more room at the craft beer family table and creating safe spaces for open dialogue about diversity in beer,” says Navarro “We talk about how there is a sense of community, but there are several groups of people (LGBTQ+, differently abled, Indigenous peoples, etc. ) who are often left out of the beer conversation. By doing talks and collaborations, Beer. Diversity. attempts to help shift who the spotlight is on. It’s not about removing people from this community, it’s about adding more people!”
And, as McJannett explains, it makes for a better work culture at the brewery as well, “I know we’ve benefited from having a team made up of caring people from diverse backgrounds; folks with different perspectives informed by a spectrum of experiences.”
Great initiative from some of the best people in the beer industry.