John Mitchell Legacy Scholarship helps brewing students

Fri, Aug 23, 2019

In honour of B.C. craft beer innovator John Mitchell, the John Mitchell Foundation and Kwantlen Polytechnic University have partnered for the John Mitchell Legacy Endowed Scholarship benefitting brewing students at KPU.

Mitchell passed away earlier this year at the age of 89. He founded Horsehoe Bay Brewing in 1982 and then went on to open Canada’s oldest brewpub, Spinnakers, in Victoria in 1984. Mitchell also helped establish Howe Sound Brewing in Squamish in the mid-1990s.

Brewmaster John Ohler first met Mitchell in 1982 at the age of 15.

“I started working with him when in 1996. John was the most passionate, driven, talented, and creative individuals I have ever known,” says Ohler, who is also part of the John Mitchell Foundation.

“If he did something, he did it to perfection. he took that approach with how he operated a business, cooked food in his pub, served his guests, and brewed his beer. There were no shortcuts for John Mitchell. He believed that things had to be done to the highest quality and standard.”

Spinnakers is donating $10,000 towards the scholarship. Central City Brewers donated the sale of Mitchell’s celebration of life beer and other breweries will be donating as well. The endowment will result in a $1000 annual scholarship, which will be available to students at KPU’s Brew Lab. Ohler says while many brewers are self-taught or taught on the job, Mitchell believed that a formal education in brewing was the key to better beer and success.

“John influenced generations of new brewers and craft beer entrepreneurs. He loved meeting the students at KPU. He was thrilled that part of his legacy would be connected to KPU and to teaching the next generation of craft beer professionals,” he says.

“Some of our students were fortunate to meet John on a few of his visits to the KPU Brew Lab and I know it meant a lot to them to chat with him and share their mutual enthusiasm for craft beer and brewing,” says Alek Egi, chair, KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations diploma. ​

“We are honoured to be a part of John Mitchell’s legacy and incredibly grateful to Paul Hadfield and Spinnakers Brewpub for their generous donation to the John Mitchell Foundation scholarship to help support KPU Brewing Diploma students.”

Ohler adds that he would like to see Mitchell’s name live on through KPU.

“John Mitchell launched an industry that has become a major has become a major economic and cultural driver. Staying connected to those roots will keep the industry, and the people that work in it, connected.”

Learn more about KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations as well as the scholarships and awards offered here.