Niagara College Launching Beverage Business Management Program


NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) is introducing a unique new graduate-certificate program that offers aspiring business managers a blend of wine, beer and spirits expertise.

The one-year Beverage Business Management program is set to launch in September 2021 and will be the first of its kind in Canada. An evolution of Niagara College’s Wine Business Management program, the new program will offer students a robust business knowledge in all aspects of the alcoholic-beverage industry — from retail and marketing, to exports and the legal and regulatory environment.

“Beverage Business Management is a natural progression of the growth in our programming,” says CFWI dean Craig Youdale. “As home to Canada’s first commercial teaching winery, first teaching brewery and first teaching distillery, we are excited to build on our established production-based programs in wine, brewing and distilling and unveil our first expanded offering from all three beverage sectors poised to break new ground across the country.”

The new program aims to prepare graduates to enter an increasingly hybridized beverage industry where spillover between winery, brewery and distillery operations is becoming more common. At the same time, consumers are opting for greater choice as craft beers, spirits and ciders commonly pop up on tasting menus alongside wines.

“We’re seeing this trend globally and we want to ensure that we’re meeting this need. International students can apply what they’ve learned in their home countries as well,” says program co-ordinator Peter Rod. “It’s the new normal to look for candidates who are ‘jacks of all trades,’ prepared with the most up-to-date skills and knowledge, who are able to pivot. Our graduates will be well positioned to do it all with knowledge from all three of these growing beverage sectors.”

Students in the Beverage Business Management will study the sensory evaluation of beer, spirits and wines; the legal and regulatory environment; and employee and financial sustainability for the beverage-alcohol industry. They will also learn about the essentials of beverage-alcohol production, innovative sales and marketing, supply chain management, quality assessment, strategic market, brand analytics and enterprise innovation and entrepreneurship. The program culminates with a capstone research/thesis project where students tackle a problem in the spirits, beer or wine business while teaming up with an industry partner or using real-life case studies.

The program will be based at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., which is the only postsecondary institution in Canada with learning enterprises from all three beverage sectors on campus as ‘living labs’ for students.

The program is expected to attract professionals who wish to learn broader concepts on the business aspect of the beverage industry to progress into management, as well as those intrigued by the industry and interested in launching a career. It’s also an opportunity for graduates from the College’s wine, beer and distilling programs to build on their credential with a new business-management graduate certificate, which focuses on three sectors.

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