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Richard Park

Old Flame Brewing Co.
Graduate of Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management (2018)

Current role

Currently, I lead the Old Flame Brewing Company’s ‘Bru Cru’ production team as the brewmaster and chief of staff. From raw materials to packaged goods, I am responsible to ensure that our customer’s hard-earned dollar and time is well spent on one of our award-winning beers. 

My brewing philosophy revolves around the importance of ‘time’. On one hand, it is imperative that we ensure that we stay true to ‘time-honouring’ our recipes and ensuring adequate aging time for our recipes. On the other, I am cognizant of the limited time our fans have to relax, unwind and enjoy themselves in our busy world. That’s why I take personal responsibility of the time they use to enjoy our products. I see every one of our cans and bottles as time spent to enjoy, celebrate, and relax with the people we care about most, ensuring that the time is well spent is the highest reflection of quality. 

Influences and inspiration

My brewing career started quickly after I graduated from an undergraduate degree in Business Administration at York University’s Schulich School of Business. I joined the world’s largest brewer Anheauser-Busch Inbev as a global management trainee. For three years, I worked across functions in the beer business such as sales, marketing, finance and operations. It was my first project at Labatt’s Montreal Brewery that I began to aspire to brew my own recipes. I began to conduct research and decided that Niagara College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program was the next step in my brewing career. Upon completing the diploma, I joined the Old Flame family and haven’t looked back since. 

I owe a lot of credit to many people over the course of my career for the path that I am on. However, when it comes to brewing, I would recognize four men: Scott Paulter (brewmaster at Wavemaker), Curtis Bentley (brewmaster at Muskoka), Jon Downing (brewmaster at NC) and Jack Doak (president and Founder Old Flame Brewing Co.). 

After spending time in the corporate world, there was an itch I needed to satisfy that revolved around exercising my entrepreneurial muscle as well as my desire to create a product I was proud of with my own hands. I was able to apply my managerial experience of the brewing industry I picked up at my days at Labatt with the technical skill set I acquired at NC and Old Flame is where I got to experiment and put the two together. 

Standout NC experience

It’s hard not to be inspired at the Niagara-on-the-lake campus; it very much feels like a real-life version of Hogwarts. You have brewing students, culinary students, viticulture students, horticulture students – the campus is literally filled with people making stuff! Being around creators fosters a sense of audacity to try anything and everything – no sense of judgement, just experiment. 

Two opportunities come to mind. The first is life on campus and having the ability to collaborate and experiment alongside other brewing students after class. Homebrewing in the garage was memorable – shout-out to Isaac Bauman who is over at Quidi Vidi Brewing out East, they have a special brewer in him over there. 

The second opportunity was on ‘Brew day Fridays’ at the Teaching Brewery. This wasn’t a structured class, but an opportunity to work with the head brewer, pick their brain and help out. I had a chance to work with both Curtis Bentley and George Eagleson – both very special brewers with different styles. 

Words of wisdom

I think more than advice, a quick word about hope may be in order. Times are changing, the world has literally flipped over in a sense. Everyone is trying to figure it out, everyone! And in times of change, the best fit to take advantage are youthful people – not young in age, but youthful in the mind. I am certain that those who are willing to change, adapt and experiment will be all right.