By Banjo Bandolas
The Glen Hay Falconer Foundation scholarship is one of the older sponsorship opportunities in the craft beer industry. I became involved in a small way with the foundation because Glen was a brewer in the small town of Eugene Oregon where I live and started my “career” in beer 21 years ago. Glen Falconer was the first “Big” beer personality I met. I don’t mean big, as in celebrity, I just mean big, as in his presence and personality filled up the room.
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The Falconer family established the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation in 2004 after Glen’s tragic accidental death in 2002. Today I’m talking to Glen’s brother, foundation shot caller, Quentin Falconer.
Quentin, the Falconer Foundation scholarship program has been around for a long time. How many scholarships have you given out to Northwest brewers over the years?
“We’ve granted 47 brewing scholarships since 2004. We started with a single scholarship which was the World Brewing Association (WBA) Concise Course in Brewing Technology at Siebel Institute. Glen attended Siebel and it really helped fill in his brewing experience and passion with education and propelled him to the next level in his professional development. The Concise Course is a two-week intensive onsite course at Siebel’s HQ in Chicago and is designed for brewers pursuing wider knowledge in brewing standards and techniques. We found that brewers that had strong fundamentals wanted more advanced studies. So we maintained the Concise Course for more junior brewers and offered a second scholarship which offered a choice of three more advanced topics (Raw Materials & Wort Production, Beer Production & Quality Control, and Packaging and Process Technology), each of which was a two-week intensive onsite course at Siebel’s HQ in Chicago. In 2013 we replaced the two-week advance topics scholarship with the WBA International Diploma in Brewing Technology Program which is an incredible 12-week program with six weeks in Chicago and 6-weeks at Doemens Campus in Munich, Germany. Recently, we returned to offering two Concise Course offerings to meet the really robust demand for entry-/mid-level education. In 2009, we established the American Brewers Guild (ABG) scholarship for the Intensive Brewing Science & Engineering course which is a 22-week distance learning course with a final residential week in Vermont. Both Siebel and ABG have been incredibly supportive of our brewing education program and the 47 recipients have gone on to greatness!”
How are the Foundations scholarships funded?
“Our Initial funding was from the early Sasquatch Brew Fests in Eugene, Oregon. In 2005, we established the Sasquatch BrewAm which is a first-of-its-kind celebrity brewers golf tournament fundraiser. We celebrated the 15th annual in 2019. In 2007, we launched the Sasquatch Legacy Project which brought prior scholarship recipients together to brew a unique beer as a fundraiser for future scholarships. Bob Craig, founder of Walking Man Brewing was the brainchild for this great and enduring initiative. The current Sasquatch Legacy Project is now hosted by Ninkasi Brewing. One of the really big sources of funding has come from Hopunion (now Yakima Chief Hops) which developed Falconer’s Flight, a proprietary hop blend, and some proceeds from the sales were donated to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation. Also, we’ve always had and continue to have business and individual donors.”
Describe an ideal applicant for the Falconer scholarship program? Do you have any tips you’d like to share that would help a brewer rise above the competition?
“The individual scholarship selection committees decide who are the best qualified candidates. But successful applicants tend to demonstrate an exemplary level accomplishment and commitment to craft brewing. They tend to have a clear vision of their own goals and how to get there which includes what the brewing education scholarship will do for them. Like any good interview or application, one is relating their personal story, their journey. We’ve also noted that the selection committee is looking for something that creates the spark for the applicant – their passion, some palpable sense of how and why the scholarship will help lead them to their goal. And finally, no applicants probably knew Glen personally. But most of the selection committee members were deeply connected to Glen and are long-time supporters of the mission of the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation. So that last question, the one about how you will help further the goals of the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation – that is a good one to think on.”
What does the application process involve?
“For both the Siebel and ABG scholarships, there are applications that are specific to each institution. Then there are a few specific questions relating to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation scholarship. We also require two letters of recommendation with one letter being from a professional brewer.”
What do you say to the applicants that don’t make the cut and receive the scholarship?
“There are only one or two spots for what can be dozens of applicants in any given year. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t receive the scholarship. In reality there are many, many qualified and exemplary candidates. The selection committee always pains when having to select a single candidate for each scholarship. I can note that successful recipients have a positive attitude and often reapply if at first they don’t succeed. More than half of the recipients have applied in prior years. They often talk about their journey and accomplishments from their prior applications – what they have done in a constructive manner since their earlier application. Persistence is an honorable quality and everyone on the selection committees recognize that. We’ve also found through applicants’ feedback that the process of introspection that is necessary to write about one’s accomplishments and goals and aspirations for the future helps focus them professionally even if they don’t prevail in receiving a scholarship.”
The Foundation plans to give out 3 scholarships in 2021, what are the timelines for applying?
“The two Siebel scholarships are launched in early February each year. The application deadline is late April with notification in mid to late May. The courses are in Chicago in October/November. The ABG scholarship is launched in September with the submission in mid-November and notification in mid-December. The distance learning course runs from January to June with a final residential week in mid-June in Middlebury, Vermont.”
If a company or brewery was interested in contributing towards an upcoming scholarship or to the foundation, how would they do that?
“They can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or make a donation online at our website at www.glenfalconerfoundation.org. Some breweries have created limited release, specialty beers where they donate part of the proceeds to the Foundation. There have been a number of initiatives over the years – sometimes proceeds from a beer festival have been donated, proceeds from a silent auction. And then there are simply individuals who believe in the power of education and donate to support the knowledge and expertise in the craft brewing industry.”
Thank you, Quentin, for sharing some of the particulars about the inner workings of the Falconer Foundation and the application process for your annual scholarship opportunities. Unfortunately the 2020 Sasquatch BrewAm golf tournament had to be cancelled, but I’ve got my fingers crossed and I’m looking forward to meeting up with you and your family at the 2021 Sasquatch BrewAm during the Oregon Brewers Festival at the end of July. The Sasquatch BrewAm is open to all so if you’d like to rub elbows with the craft beer industry elite, drink good beer, and play a really weird game of golf on the strangest course you’ve ever seen, join us! (Golfing skill is not required, in fact it’s been known to be a hindrance!)
The Glen Hay Falconer Foundation is a non-profit organization created to commemorate and celebrate the life, interests, and good works of a well-loved and leading Northwest brewer. The mission of the Foundation is to contribute to the Northwest craft brewing community by providing opportunities for professional and aspiring brewers to further their knowledge and expertise. Applicants must be from the states Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Alaska, and Hawaii. The scholarships are open to both homebrewers and professional brewers. A list of past Falconer scholarship recipients can be found here. Find out more about the foundation and scholarship opportunities at www.glenfalconerfoundation.org
The Siebel Institute of Technology was founded in 1872 by Dr. J. E. Siebel, the Siebel Institute of Technology is recognized as one of the world leaders in brewing education. As a forward-thinking organization with a global mindset, the Siebel Institute of Technology, in conjunction with Doemens Academy of Munich, Germany, created a joint educational entity with the goal of giving brewers from around the globe the technical knowledge they will need in order to be fully prepared to solve the daily challenges encountered in the brewing industry. https://www.siebelinstitute.com
The American Brewers Guild is a premier school for the craft brewing industry dedicated to providing a comprehensive learning experience that focuses on the technical, scientific, and operational matters and issues that brewers face in a craft brewing environment. This year marks the eleventh year of collaboration between the Falconer Foundation and the American Brewers Guild. We offer our deepest gratitude to ABG for its long-standing and continuing support for the Foundation’s brewing education scholarship program. https://www.abgbrew.com