I’m Dan and I’ve been out in Fort Collins with Conor and Morgan learning the Supply side of our business for the past six weeks. It’s been an absolutely amazing ride with the GMT program so far. While I could go on and on about all the great experiences I’ve had since August, I’d had a unique experience recently I’d like to share.
A defining part of being a GMT is the opportunity to have a senior mentor. These mentors hold leadership positions within the company and act as an enormous resource of knowledge and guidance. My mentor is Tony Sanfillipo, the General Manager of our Fairfield, California brewery. A couple weeks ago I was able to fly out to Fairfield (located just north of the Bay Area) to shadow Tony and learn about some of Fairfield’s best practices.
Bud Classic Car Show at Fairfield
Some of the highlights of my West Coast experience include:
Meeting a Congressman at Fairfield’s “Bud Classic Car Show”, an annual fundraising event that promotes the AB employee-organized Families Helping Families Foundation. The event will help feed 300 families and 100 senior citizens at Thanksgiving and the two weeks following.
Spending a day in beautiful San Francisco. I took some personal time over the weekend to do some traveling around the area, culminating in a great day in the city. While there, I visited the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Ferry Building. However, a personal highlight was making friends with an elderly man in a small bar in Chinatown. I saw he was drinking Budweiser and decided to strike up a conversation. He told me his life story about working for the Air Force and USPS and traveling around the country. When I told him who I worked for he got excited and told me about ABI employees he’d met in the past. It was awesome to hear his enthusiasm for Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch.
Shadowing Brewery Manager Tony Sanfillipo at the Fairfield Brewery. At 36, Tony is young to be in such a senior position. However, his knowledge, professionalism, and ability to effectively manage was inspiring and immediately removed all doubt about his ability to lead. Tony, and many others like him are promoted to leadership based on ABI’s focus on meritocracy. Seniority here is defined by continuous high performance and the ability to lead. To me, it’s an incredibly refreshing philosophy to follow.
Recruiting at Stanford University. This was my first experience recruiting for ABI, and I’m really glad I got the opportunity to do so. I traveled down from Fairfield to Palo Alto after a couple days in the brewery and was able to meet with some potential future GMTs. It was fun for me to be able to connect with people whose position I had been in just a year ago.
After a great four days in the Bay Area, I traveled back to Colorado, where I’m now spending my final week finalizing my project in Supply. Next, I’ll travel back to St. Louis to meet up with all 23 GMTs for a day of Sales training before heading up to Canton, Ohio with Connor and Stephanie to start my sales rotation at a Wholly-Owned Distributer. It’s been a great ride so far and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
This is Conor Mason. For the past five weeks, I have been hanging out in Fort Collins, CO with Dan Ward and Morgan Lockwood. I only have one week left in my supply rotation and I already know I am going to miss this place.
The brewery experience itself has been incredible. I have worked in every part of the brewery you could possibly imagine, from taste-tasting beers and measuring out hops, to learning about the ammonia refrigeration process and cleaning out chip tanks in with rubber boots and gloves. If you have never worked in a brewery before, it’s hard to truly have an appreciation for the complexity of the process, especially within Anheuser-Busch. The saying amongst the employees in the brewery is “safety, quality, and everything else.” First, we have to make sure that we are holding ourselves to the very highest standard of safety in the industry, going above and beyond to make sure that no one is ever injured on the job. Second, we have to make sure that every beer that goes out the door measures up to our incredibly strict quality standards to ensure the best product to our consumers. Third, everything else. There is always something to improve at the brewery, and I have had a great time staying busy here.
Morgan loves her Bud Light.
The city of Fort Collins is way cooler than I could have ever expected. The night life is awesome, there is hiking in just about every direction, and the culture is relaxed and casual. Morgan, Dan, and I have been doing things together almost every weekend with colleagues in the brewery. For our last weekend in Fort Collins, I am planning on showing a friend from college around the brewery, hitting up a casino along with Dan and Morgan, and then going into Denver Saturday and Sunday for the Broncos game.
The only thing getting me over my sadness in leaving Fort Collins is looking forward to seeing all the other GMT’s in St. Louis and then heading off to San Diego with Lyndsay and Laura.
Greetings from Williamsburg, Virginia. The GMTs are two months into our program, and it has definitely been an intense ride since day one. To sum up my experience thus far, I thought I would break away from the standard blog post and give a few highlights à la Buzzfeed (read: make a list of Instagram photos.) Enjoy!
1) Brewing Boot Camp
Early on, we had two days of “Brewing Boot Camp” where we studied the brewing process and tasted dozens of beers, but basically the whole ten-months is aimed at becoming a top-class beer connoisseur to help understand the quality of our products. Trust me, being able to discuss the differences between ales and lagers impresses most people.
2) Frequent Interaction with Senior Management
As GMTs, we get the privilege to meet senior management on a surprisingly regular basis. From our Zone President Luiz Edmond wandering in just to say hello during lunch breaks to CEO Carlos Brito taking time during Global Induction to answer questions (and pose for photos), company leaders readily make themselves accessible to us.
3) Lots of Leadership Lessons
We not only interact with upper management, but employees at all levels, meaning exposure to a diverse range of opinions. For example, an operator in the Williamsburg Brewery posted the sign above, and we spoke to our Brew Master and several others about their unique perspectives on work-place dynamics. This has helped me think critically about management styles and how to improve my own leadership skills.
4) Projects with Real Impact
During our rotations, we are all given projects to solidify our understanding and also contribute to brewery operations. Right now, I am working on standardizing—and thereby hopefully improving the performance of—a bottle line. I get to collaborate with the line’s managers and operators, and Pete Kraemer, the North American Vice President of Supply, is actually reviewing our joint efforts next week. Thus, the project is not just for my benefit but has long-term implications. (OK, so maybe this photo does not really fit, aside from a “The Sky’s the Limit” metaphor hiding somewhere, but it really is!)
5) Opportunity to Build Something New
We are also split into teams for a ten-month “Build a Brand” project to create a new product. My role is Insights Manager, so I try to direct our team to discover market “white space opportunities” (i.e. target consumers and occasions.) Getting to be entrepreneurial and sort of function as a start-up within ABI while utilizing the company’s resources has been very insightful, and I really look forward to presenting our product in May.
6) Encouragement to Create a Better World
Corporate social responsibility gets highly prioritized at ABI, and I have already had various volunteering opportunities. For example, on Global Be(er) Responsibility Day, I visited several bars and restaurants with a local sales representative to promote our Budweiser Designate a Driver campaign on responsible drinking. Check out our virally heart-breaking PSA here!
7) Happy Six Pack Thursday
Enough said. Well OK, although free beer is always a plus, the bigger point I want to make here is that ABI really tries to take care of its people. For example, while we actually were gifted to a Happy Six Pack Thursday back in St. Louis, this week happens to be Employee Appreciation Week in Williamsburg, so the whole crew got rewarded daily for brewery performance. I appreciate how people do take the time to express gratitude.
8) Coworkers who are #UpForWhatever…
I cannot emphasize how fortunate it is to have other GMTs to share these ten months with. While there are certainly challenges with such a large and diverse group, having coworkers going through similar experiences definitely eases entry into the workforce. (A special shout-out to Conor Ward and Mariel Spencer, as my time in Williamsburg would not nearly have been as fun without them!)
9)…All Over the World!
There are actually 147 GMTs internationally. (After all we are Global Management Trainees!) While most of our time is spent in zone, we did have Global Induction where our overseas counterparts joined us in St. Louis, offering an excellent opportunity to make new connections and share experiences. Not to mention make some unforgettable memories, such as explaining baseball to Brazilians or completing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge together!
10) Real World Living Made Easy
For those wondering how we manage to travel and still live sane lives, once again ABI takes care of its people. Our lodging and transportation is provided throughout the program, so for instance, Mariel and I got assigned the townhouse above. This helps me develop work-life balance and still do things like learn how to cook (Don’t judge! I lived in a dorm throughout university.) without stressing about other factors such as finding accommodations. Trust me, for someone as naïve and new to the “Real World” as I am, this is a huge relief.
11) Simply Working for an Incredible Company
This last point is admittedly a bit cheesy, but I do believe entering the workforce as a GMT is absurdly lucky. I am still pretty new here, but I have been consistently impressed with our company’s meritocratic culture and correspondingly high standards for quality and performance. Plus, we make beer! As people point out often, we don’t make toilet paper or other important yet mundane items, we make beer. We literally manufacture fun. Can it get much better than that? Especially on a Happy Six Pack Thursday, I doubt it can.
Well that is all I have for now. I soon move on to six weeks of commercial fun in sales, where I will be spending time in New York City, Boston, and Denver. Look out for a post on my escapades from those cities next!
Garrett here, checking in from the brewery in Newark, New Jersey (a.k.a. Brewark)!
Fresh Bud Light!
Boy, has it been fun to read everyone’s recent posts from across the Zone. We’ve heard how Houston is one of the biggest breweries, Baldwinsville the most complex, and Montreal the most French. Naturally, you’re all dying to know how Newark stacks up…
Newark is old school cool; it was built in 1951 and is the second oldest brewery in the system. We are not spoiled with 10 lines (holla Htown), exciting AGV’s (I see you MCC), or a crazy Automatic Storage Retrieval System (sup Columbus).
On top of the brewery — Pilots flying into Newark look for our sign before they land!
But what Newark lacks in new equipment, they make up for in the quality of their people. The people here are exceptional; many of the operators have been here 20+ years and posses a wealth of knowledge about the brewing process and a true sense of pride for the craft. Newark has the highest participation in the Excellence Through Ideas program and the second highest Engagement Rate in the Zone. On top of the 4.5 MM barrels we produce annually, the warehouse is responsible for distributing 20% of the ABI imports that come into the country!
In addition to learning about every aspect of the brewery, we’ve been working on savings projects over the past 6 weeks. I am pushing a cost project to reduce yeast waste from chip tanks while increasing beer yield. The project requires working with a number of people in the Brewing Department, all of whom have been incredibly helpful in teaching an Econ major the ways of the brewery: What’s that acronym mean again? Where does this pipe lead? Is that CO2 I smell? (It wasn’t, cause it’s odorless.)
Outside of work, spending 6 weeks in this area has been incredible. We live in Jersey City right across from NYC so our free time has been spent living it up in the city that never sleeps.
View from our apartment
We have had some amazing adventures in and around NYC… We’ve said our goodbyes to an MLB legend, cheered for the AB advertisements in Times Square, bar-hopped in Manhattan and Hoboken, eaten at the World Famous Grimaldi’s Pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge, walked the High Line in Chelsea, and seen concerts and comedy shows in the Lower East Side.
They said everything was better in Texas, and they were right. I’m currently on rotation at the brewery in Houston, Texas with Stephanie Danner and Jim Kluga. We’ve had a fantastic five weeks learning about brewing, operations, maintenance, logistics, finance and people. Rotating around the US gives us opportunities to not only learn about the different roles of Anheuser-Busch, but about the culture as well. Southern hospitality is thriving and visible at the Houston Brewery, especially during Employee Appreciation Week.
First Lady of the Houston Brewery and Senior People Manager Allison Barcz invented the tradition of Waffle Wednesday during Employee Appreciation Week. It’s a successful way to meet the hundreds of employees over all three shifts. Yes, she knows them all by name. Best Practice, anyone? She was kind enough to bring us onto the all-star waffle team and we began preparations for the event just as the clock struck midnight on October 1st. Balloons were blown up, batter was prepared, and the table was 5s’d with pink tape. The scent of Pam and 80’s one-hit wonders filled the air as we greeted the midnight shift with enthusiasm only enhanced by one too many cups of Starbucks.
Budweiser Balloons and Country Tunes
We made waffles for all three shifts of employees in the shape of circus animals, hearts, and Mickey Mouse. However, our biggest success was Texas shaped waffles. Our consumer insights feedback indicated that somehow this shape improved the flavor profile. The GMTs #MadeItOurs by adding chocolate chips and peppermint to specialty orders. Did we get a little wild during hour five and attempt food coloring? Of course! Did it look like we had contaminated the batter with our own blood? Maybe, but minor setbacks will never derail us from always trying to find a better way. We want to be the best GMTs in better, Bisquick-battered world.
First Lady Barcz, Stephanie, Emily, and Laura
After all, the majority of our waffles were in spec (89.7%) and our TWL (total waffle loss) was only one slightly burned chocolate-filled Texas fiasco I managed to fling across the cafeteria floor while attempting to serve our Brew Master. Like in packaging, one should never attempt to gain style points. In a 24 hour, oversold brewery, waffles stop for no man. But safety should always come first.
I’m here with fellow GMTs Pearly Meixsel and Conor Ward. We have had the pleasure of working the off shift this week (2pm – 11pm) in order to shadow the Operations department. It is definitely an interesting experience driving home from work at 11! We have been learning all about the machinery and processes used to package our beer. Prior to working in Ops, we spent time with the People, Finance, Utilities, Quality Assurance, and Brewing departments. We have also spent a good amount of time working on our individual Supply projects. They keep us busy here in Williamsburg – we are continually impressed by how hard everyone works and how dedicated they are.
Working hard in the brewery control room “Captain’s Chair”
Last week, the GMTs and several other people from the Brewery got the chance to participate in Global Be(er) Responsible day. The goal of this event is to spread our message of responsible drinking to consumers across the country. I was assigned to a Key Account Manager in the convenience store channel. We started off the day by visiting a WaWa (which is basically the coolest and biggest gas station you will ever see) and working in the beer coolers to do a reset. This involves moving the beer around in the coolers to meet a certain display format. Changing even the smallest thing, like the order of the 25 oz. cans in the cooler, can mean a big change in sales. Throughout the day, I passed out promotional material supporting our “Designate a Driver” campaign and talked to consumers about what they can do to help promote responsible drinking.
Getting our pool on at The Corner Pocket
Williamsburg GMTs have not only been working hard, we’ve been playing hard too. There is a lot to do in the surrounding area! We have been busy attending NASCAR tailgates in Richmond, taking in the unique culture at the local bars, and of course watching people in wigs riding around on horses in colonial Williamsburg.
Keep reading to hear about all of the awesome adventures our class is having around the country!
Matt, Chris, and I have been taking Columbus, Ohio by storm. That mostly involves me struggling to eat the unreasonably spicy food Chris makes while Chris and Matt struggle to eat my first attempts at cooking dinner after four years of being spoiled in college dining halls. In the remainder of our time, we’ve been taking in all that the largest city in Ohio has to offer. We’ve hung around Ohio State University’s campus during home games, explored delicious restaurants recommended by our new friends in the utilities department, and chilled by the pool at our apartment complex (thrilling video below). We saw a Bengals-Falcons game in Cincinnati (weeks later, my sunburn remains) and spent a fun weekend in Chicago (picture below). Our time here has flown by and been a blast. We all can’t wait to see what new adventures are in store for us at our next locations!
Right now, I am doing my supply rotation in the Columbus Brewery. I have rotated through Brewing, Utilities, Operations, Logistics and am currently in Maintenance. I went through a deep dive in each of these areas learning the process from start to finish and what many of the operators and managers do on a daily basis (I got to clean a chip tank in brewing and I am helping rebuild a valve in maintenance). Having a holistic view of the brewery has given me a greater appreciation of what each department does, how they operate and how they work together to make and ship the beer we love. Along with our departmental rotation, each GMT has a project we are working on. Mine is in logistics. The warehouse in Columbus is a fully automated system (from the palletizer to the trailer where the beer is loaded). I am working on decreasing idle time for our automated truck loaders. The projects allow for a more in-depth view of a department and provide us with our first deliverables. My supply experience has been invaluable thus far and I am excited to have a similar one in commercial.
Mes amis et moi, à Montréal (My friends and I, in Montreal)
Bonjour à tous!
Being from Montreal, it was an absolute pleasure coming back to my beautiful city. After almost a month of living out of a suitcase, eating out at restaurants all the time (trust me, it gets old) and being bombarded with slide decks, we finally got the chance to unpack our clothes into drawers, use a stove and make an impact on the business.
Our first deep dive rotation had begun and we were slung into the world of Operations and Logistics at the LaSalle brewery here in Montreal. I’m lucky enough to have gone to French school almost all my life, therefore the transition into a majoritarily French work environment was very smooth. On the other hand, my colleagues faced an uphill challenge having to learn to communicate with some people who spoke little to no English. For that, I commend them. From what I can tell and what I have heard, they are all doing exceptionally well despite the slight language barriers. I greatly look forward to listening to their final presentations coming up in only a few weeks.
Personally, I was never very strong in Operations and Logistics. I took one Supply Chain course in University and can remember thinking how useless this course was to someone like myself majoring in Marketing. I seem pretty silly now, because here I am waist deep in ratios and excel sheets, crunching numbers on the daily trying to lower downtimes and increase efficiencies. To be exact, my personal project consists of helping my line manager with his Green Belt project (specific projects offered throughout ABI looking to close gaps in different areas). My task involves me observing and auditing the packaging line on our most complex packaging line: MC2, or Montreal Can Line 2. It is said to even possibly be the most complex line in all of North America. With the help of the operators, my manager and a large number of people around the office who have been more than generous by sharing their knowledge with me, I am looking to decrease the time it takes to change between can sizes and consequently increase the amount of cases we can produce 4 hours after such a change.
We are now at the start of our fifth of six weeks here in Montreal. Time definitely flies when you are having fun and working hard everyday. For me, the ends of the days and weeks have been rewarding. Furthermore, getting to spend some after-hour time in Montreal with my 6 fellow GMTs and showing them around my city has been amazing. On a personal note, playing tour guide and party planner has really given me a new appreciation of Montréal. Que je t’aime, Montréal!
With the hockey season upon us and the appearance of beautiful foliage, we now find ourselves two weeks away from finishing our short stint in Supply and heading out West for our Sales rotation. This experience in LaSalle, though not yet over of course, has been an extremely memorable and insightful one for us. Looking forward to some serious BBQ and Rocky Mountains out West.
First off, check out Varun’s post for a great overview of the Baldwinsville brewery and the surrounding area of Syracuse, NY. Although you may not be able to point out Baldwinsville on a map, I assure you it is one of the most beautiful and unique areas I’ve ever seen, and I count myself lucky to have the opportunity to spend six weeks here in central New York. On top of that, Baldwinsville is the single most complex brewery in the ABI system (this includes well over 100 breweries around the world), which makes this experience all the more interesting.
As of this writing, Varun and I have completed four weeks of our six week brewery rotation. The time so far has been a whirlwind; we have spent some time with each department in the brewery learning a little about what everyone does to make Bville a truly world class brewery. Now that we have an overview of the different functions in the brewery, it’s time to dig into our projects and help the team here improve as much as possible in the short time that we have left. Things move fast here in the brewery – I have seen some of my solutions put into action already and I will have the opportunity to present some of my results to the VP of Supply, Pete Kraemer, in the coming weeks. Talk about high level exposure! It’s exciting to have the opportunity to contribute to high level projects right from the start and see the impact of my work right away.
Outside of the brewery, I’ve taken day trips to the Finger Lakes for a tour of wine and apple country, the Thousand Islands for a boat tour on the St. Lawrence river that goes into Canada and back, Cooperstown to visit the baseball Hall of Fame, Ithaca for hiking and waterfall adventures, and Penn State, my beloved alma mater, for a football weekend. I had no idea all that this area had to offer before I moved here, and discovering all the cool things to do around here has been a blast.
Our setup at the Syracuse United Way Chili Cook-off
Living and working in Montreal these days, which has been a unique and fun adventure. I’ve always known that Quebec was a different place, but it wasn’t till I started working here that I’ve come to see it firsthand.
We’ve been in Montreal for 4 weeks now with our supply rotation in the LeSalle Brasserie at 50 Labatt Ave (and yes that is also the name of our historic Labatt 50 beer). Life as a GMT has gotten more real since we arrived; we are no longer sitting through presentations and going through beer boot camp, or being pampered with beer pairings at the Bier Markt, but rather we have moved on to getting our hands dirty in the brewery and packaging plant.
It was something that all of us have been waiting for, the opportunity to start making an impact. After a weeks of being told how great we are, how we are going to be the future of the company, and how we can rise through the ranks in record time to be a VP, we had one more week of Quebec and Supply on-boarding before beginning on our first projects as GMTs.
Six of the seven of us have been working on the packaging side of supply while Richard has been working in utilities. My project has been focused on optimizing processes and decreasing downtime on one of/the most complex canning lines in the world, it’s for sure the most complex in our North American Zone and may be in the world (or at least ABI’s). So naturally after receiving the assignment I was pumped, excited, and nervous at the same time.
I’ve been working on the project for a 3 weeks now with two more weeks to go, and am making some good headway. However, being honest, there have been some major and minor setbacks with a steep learning curve; in particular converting my marketing brain to be more mechanically inclined; but this is exactly the challenge I came to AB InBev for.
Already in this first rotation, I feel myself being pushed in new directions and outside my comfort zone. It’s through these daily struggles that I ensure I live up to my values of never being complacent. This was something that I heard over and over again through the hiring process and I defiantly see it taking shape early on in my everyday work life.
One simple example of a challenge we’ve been faced with is working in a province where the business language isn’t one I can speak fluently. Only being able to say the basic greetings and simple phrases is one challenge that has been difficult, yet manageable. I definitely took sharing a common language in all my previous internships and jobs for granted. Working in supply we are working with a lot of unionized workers who speak little-to-no English and it’s made me truly appreciate being able to easily express my ideas and ask questions in a common language, and it will be something I remember as we move throughout our rotations.
As the final two weeks f supply finish up in Montreal I’m excited to see everyone’s presentations for their projects and get some quality feedback from the ManComm team.
I’m currently working at one of AB’s largest US breweries with Laura and Jim, and having a blast. Houston is what they call an “oversold brewery,” meaning that even when every line is running 24/7, 365, we can’t send out enough product to satisfy Texas. This creates a really exciting, fast-paced dynamic for the people down here, as the brewery is always trying to innovate with better ways to make our beer. I feel really lucky to be working in such an impressive place!
Coming from a non-engineering background (I majored in Economics and French), seeing the brewing and packaging processes is fascinating. Before I started this job, I never knew just how much work and care went into every bottle of Bud Light! There are hundreds of hard-working people managing each step of the process to make sure that our packages meet strict quality standards. If there is one thing I can tell you about this brewery, it is that the people truly care about our consumers’ experience with our brands. It is a pleasure working alongside them!
Measuring out hops for Budweiser in the hop room!
In addition, the employees here at the brewery aren’t just coworkers; they’re also friends. While I was initially a little bit nervous about meeting people here, everyone has welcomed us into this new environment with open arms. Our social calendar is always full of new activities with our coworkers, including attending Astros baseball games, watching “turtle racing” on Thursday nights at a local bar, and even “pedal parties” downtown. In a few weeks time, we’ll be road-tripping to Austin with some of the guys in the Brewery Development Program to attend a huge music festival called Austin City Limits. We’ll definitely be bringing some fresh beer down with us, too… I can’t wait!
Our “pedal party” and an Astros game!
That’s all for now, but I can’t wait to update y’all as we dive deeper into our supply rotation. Thanks so much for reading!
We are currently in the fourth week of our supply rotation at the Montreal brewery, and having the best time in one of Canada’s coolest cities! The Montreal brewery is one of the largest in Canada, with many different beers being brewed and packaged simultaneously. An extra challenge here has been the language barrier for most of us, but we welcomed the chance to seriously brush up on our French!
Our first week here was filled with detailed presentations and facility tours. Within no time, I became familiar with a variety of topics ranging from brewing to packaging to maintenance. By the end of the first week, we were itching to get our hands dirty. Thankfully, we were then given our individual projects and we met with our project mentors for the first time.
Having a blast on our first brewery tour.
Most of us were given projects related to increasing efficiency on the packaging lines. I’m working to reduce downtime on the labeller on one of the lines. My job is to pinpoint when most of the downtime occurs and what the primary causes are, as well as auditing and improving the current SOPs (standard operating procedures). I’ve been presented with an additional challenge, as the first time my line is running is not until the end of next week (with our presentations the week after)! Luckily, I love data analysis and number crunching, and have been looking at past data and trends that will hopefully correspond to what I see during my brief time on the line next week.
We were lucky enough to get invited to a number of extra events, including recruiting days and sales meetings. At the end of our first week, we assisted with the delivery of beer to all the outdoor stations at “First Fridays,” a giant food truck festival in Montreal on the first Friday of every month. We put in some serious hard work: unloading trucks, carrying cases, and inflating a giant Alexander Keith’s can! The beer on premise paired perfectly with the evening’s food truck meal (or meals in my case).
Representing Keith’s at First Fridays!
That’s about all for now. We’ve been working very hard and time has flown by. Luckily, the bar in the upstairs office is the perfect after-work destination!
The perfect place to grab a beer Thursday and Friday after work, just upstairs!
It’s been about three weeks since I started up here in the Baldwinsville Brewery in central New York. It is located about 25 minutes from Syracuse, NY. It has been a whirlwind of a time here and I have been able to learn a lot in just a short amount of time.
Baldwinsville, called Bville, is one of the most unique breweries in the entire ABI system because it is responsible for most of the Flavored Alcohol Beverages (FABs) and Ciders that ABI makes. They make over 70 different types of beer here! The factory used to belong to Schlitz, one of the original breweries in the USA, was bought in the 1980’s. Bville has gone through significant change to help handle the 4 million hectoliters of product that it is required to produce.
Brian and I on Global Be(er) Responsible Day!
I, personally, am working on the brewing side of the operation. My project is focused on reducing total extract loss (TEL), specifically during brand changes. During a brand change (ex. Switching from filling Budweiser to filling Lime-A-Rita in packaging), there are some opportunities for Bville to limit the amount of water and beer that is lost. I’m working with a team to help solve this problem and see how we can either reduce or reuse that lost liquid. Coming from an economics and international business background, I was pretty nervous to be coming into an extremely technical and engineering type role. Luckily everyone in Bville has been really great and extremely helpful. Understanding that I may not have the same technical background as others; people around here have taken the time to really educate me about the systems, while hearing my ideas and thought process from an economics and business viewpoint. It’s exciting to feel like you are being stretched and forced to grow in areas that you may not feel the most comfortable with.
Taste Panel everyday at 3!
Along with this, because I work on the brewing side, I am lucky enough to get to participate in the Brewmaster Taste Panel every single day at 3:00 pm. Every day at 3:00 pm, 5 – 7 members of the brewing team sit down, sip, and discuss every type of beer that was brewed in the brewery that day. It is amazing to learn and understand how each one of the ABI beers is crafted for a specific flavor, color, aroma, and profile. Everyone has such a passion for beer and crafting these products to the highest quality, it is humbling to learn from people who make these products every day. Plus, drinking beer every day isn’t a bad thing.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame – Cooperstown, NY
Outside of the brewery, I have been able to enjoy the surrounding area and explore upstate New York. This weekend I went to Cooperstown, NY, home of The Baseball Hall of Fame. As a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan (who just clinched a playoff berth!!), it was an trip that I had always wanted to take some time in my lifetime. The small city of Cooperstown is about an hour and a half away from Syracuse. Fellow roommate and GMT, Brian Bacik, and I took the drive through small towns and eventually found ourselves in a quaint town that was full of history. The Hall of Fame was an awe-inspiring experience. The gravity of The Hall just hits you as you see the marble columns and plaques of all the famous players that shaped America’s pastime.
The area around Bville is sports crazy! Everyone here loves Syracuse University and the Orange. They also play recreational sports all year around. After three weeks, I have already joined a volleyball league and a soccer league, playing with co-workers and their friends. It has been a really nice way of meeting people and getting to know others in the community! I only have a few more weekends here, but Notre Dame plays Syracuse on September 27th and the brewery is having a huge tailgate to watch the game, so looks like I already have plans! After this, I am off to Denver for my Wholesaler rotations. I’ll talk to you all then!
I have been in the Atlanta area working at the Cartersville brewery for the past 3 weeks. Ryan and Lyndsay are here with me for this rotation. We have enjoyed our apartment complex’s pool and gym and have been cooking ourselves dinner almost every night.
The Cartersville brewery is the newest of our twelve US breweries; because of this and the great team they have here, it is one of the most efficient. They make everything from Budweiser to Natural Light and more recently began producing the FMBs like Lime-a-Rita. The brewery received us very well and made a plan to show us every department in detail, in addition to an individual and a group project we have for the rotation. Up until now, we spent a full week in brewing and a week seeing the utilities and the people departments, and we will see operations (packaging) this week. Besides learning about each department’s team, process maps, KPIs and goals, we are spending time with operators and group managers to understand their day-today work.
My individual project has been to optimize the use of an enzyme used in the mashing process, one of the first steps in brewing. The enzyme is more efficient than its predecessor was and I have been testing mashes with different enzyme amounts, temperatures and boil lengths to find which yields the highest RDF (real degrees of fermentation). This has been a very exciting project, which has led me to learn the brewing process in detail. As a group, we are examining the feasibility of providing tours and a Beer Garden at the brewery through local market research, which has also been challenging and fun.
They put us to work - cleaning out the chip tanks!
I am checking in this month from gorgeous Williamsburg, Virginia. Pearly, Mariel and I will be here for the next few weeks soaking up as much information as we can about the supply side of the company. The Williamsburg brewery is known as the “Can Do” Brewery because it takes every challenge thrown its way head on. One of these challenges is brewing 48 different brands of beer, making brewing and packaging logistics very complex. We spent the past week learning the in and outs of the brewing process at the Williamsburg brewery. We did everything from joining in daily taste testing, led by brewmaster Dan Westmoreland, to cleaning out the beach wood chip tanks used to help perfect Budweiser and Bud Light.
All geared up to down & dirty in the chip tanks!!
We will spend the coming weeks taking a closer look at utilities, operations, and maintenance at the Williamsburg brewery. We will also be participating in Be(er) Responsible Day this Friday as well as helping out with various lean projects going on at the brewery. For future updates from the Williamsburg brewery, stay tuned for Mariel and Pearly’s posts coming early October!!
It’s an exciting time for us GMTs, as we just kicked off our 2014 program! We started our program in the first week of August, with the 23 United States GMTs in St. Louis, and the 7 Canadian GMTs in Toronto for Country Induction. The next week, the Canadians joined the rest of us in St. Louis as we underwent Zone Induction, where we even got a two day course in Brewing Boot Camp, where we learned about different beer styles as well as getting to sample them!
All in a Day’s Work
The next week was absolutely crazy, but was definitely one of the most rewarding so far, as it was Global Induction. All 147 worldwide GMTs converged upon St. Louis as we learned about all facets of the global company, and had the opportunity to hear inspiring speeches from the leaders of our company, including our CEO, Carlos Brito! Not only did we have the awesome opportunity to learn from and interact with leaders ABInbev, but we also got to do some fun activities like going to a St. Louis Cardinals game and by far being the most energetic people in Busch Stadium. We also got the opportunity to volunteer for a local organization in St. Louis called operation food search, as well as doing a 147-person ice bucket challenge benefiting ALS research.
After all the GMTs departed St. Louis and headed back to their respective zones, the North American GMTs had one last week in St. Louis, where we learned about our IT and Business Services functions, known as IBS. Currently, we are all out in breweries across the US and Canada completing our supply rotations. Check out the location map on the right-hand column to see where we are! Make sure to zoom in on each location to see everyone that’s there! Be on the lookout for updates from the GMTs as they are in their supply rotations! Also, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot us a question either on this blog, or to our emails listed in each of our profiles! We would love to answer any questions for those of you considering applying for the GMT program!
Until next time,
Happy Hour saying goodbye to the Canadian GMT’s
GMT Paintball in what could be considered the worst weather ever (but so much fun!)
Over the last 10 months, I have sacrificed a lot for this company. I have lost countless friends, because they continued to drink Molson products against my sternest warnings. I have stopped going to some of my favorite bars, because they refused, believe it or not, to switch their Coors Light line for Bud Light. And I even deceived my own grandfather and tricked him into taking a blind taste test to prove that he enjoyed Stella more than Heineken.
I have also spent the last 10 months living the GMT life, and I almost feel unworthy of the rollercoaster ride I have been fortunate enough to have been on since July. It is a privilege to stand in front of you all today, representing the GMT class of 2013, and especially my counterparts from up North. I must say that when I was doing my research for the interview process and read more and more about ZBB, I was half expecting to have to ride my bicycle to St. Louis, and pitch a tent under the St. Louis arch. It has been a life learning of mine, that the degree of satisfaction we derive from our experiences directly stems from the difference between our expectations and reality.
We were told we would learn a lot, but I was not expecting to feel like I just got my MBA in 10 months; We were told we would meet lots of important people, but I was not expecting to “have a casual lunch” with Luiz Edmond, our Canadian President Lisboa and even our Board of Directors; We were told we would tackle important projects, but I was not expecting to be briefed with my whole Calgary office on the introduction of a new 12 can Bud Light SKU that we Canadian GMTs recommended and implemented 2 months prior.
Needless to say, while my expectations were high, the Gap (to use some ABI lingo) between expectation & reality has made this experience something I struggle to put into words. And for those of you who know me, I am not a man who struggles to find words.
At the end of the day, I am standing here representing my Canadian counterparts so I would like to speak to that here. We Canadians may envy you American’s epic first positions, & locations in LA & Miami, but if there is anything you should envy of us Canucks in return, besides our expensed gas, it should be the bond we have forged amongst ourselves and what we have accomplished together, as Team Canada, in such a short period of time.
We spent months in breweries improving everything from the taste of Bud Light, to the efficiency of bottle lines and palletizers. We have ordered pizza to the Edmonton office at midnight, the day before our game-changing presentation. Spent hours locked in a room together in Montreal, building what is now the Corona army. And then we each went our separate ways and drove incremental business for our respective sales regions, distributing Corona surveys in the process.
In short, we have challenged each other, supported each other, and I truly believe motivated and inspired one another to achieve something more than we once thought possible of our individual selves. Being 4 people, in a country that is larger in geographical size and far more beautiful than the US, we have only had each other to fall back on. Taylor and I were placed a 3 and a half hour drive apart for our final projects, and have visited each other 12 times in 4 months (no exaggeration). Darren told me last week that his son asked him where “his friend Ben was” on Skype. Tina has been a huge source of support for me going through an interesting transition period into my first role. We have definitely had our differences – but I could not feel luckier to have gone through this journey with the 3 of you guys.
So on behalf of all of us, thank you to everyone who made this past 10 months possible – it has been an opportunity and experience I know we will never forget. Now, I will pass the reigns off to Sarah, to wrap-up this journey with a few more words.
I wasn’t valedictorian or student body president in high school or college, so I’ve never gotten to give a speech like this before. But I think that’s what’s important about this program, and about this group of individuals. At some point we all had a “why me?” moment, wondering how we got this opportunity…and that’s the very reason we were chosen to be part of this company’s future.
They all know, and I want you all to know, that I actually lobbied for the opportunity to be up here today, despite a crippling fear of public speaking. This moment is the first time in my life that I felt I had something valuable to say, and the first time I felt I could understand the sentiments of my peers and regurgitate them in an articulate manner. That’s a testament to how much we’ve all grown over the last ten months. I know I have, and I think you guys feel it too.
Surprisingly, I remember the first day of the program like it was yesterday. I arrived at the Drury, mother in tow, and ran into Alaina in the lobby. I remember telling my mom how nice she was. I remember that Ashley and I discovered we had the same purse and shared a love for practical fashion accessories. I remember showing up to the restaurant late where all these wonderful people were eating, and Alec getting my attention from the far end of the table just to say hello and ask me how I was doing. I remember dancing at Big Daddy’s and getting to know each other with little to no regard or understanding for the number of PowerPoints we were destined to sit through over the next few weeks. Most of all, I remember feeling right away that we all just fit. As my fellow GMT put so simply when I asked her what I would do without her: We’d survive, she said, but just less so.
From Day 1, they told us we would be sponges, yet we all still underestimated the knowledge we would gain and the exposure we would have. In ten months, I saw six breweries, four WODs, and two region offices, and I now have friends in all of them. Or at the very least, someone I could call with a market-specific question.
Aside from learning the ins and outs of the way this corporation works, and in addition to gaining an understanding of how to leverage each component to create a more profitable future, we’ve also walked away with intangibles: increased self awareness, a sharp ability to focus and to be patient, a deep sense of determination. These are skills we have been cultivating throughout our entire lives, and they’ve only gotten stronger.
Over time, we’ve come to take pride in our contributions to the greater good of this company; we’ve come to support each other, both professionally, and otherwise; we’ve stood in airports carrying all of our earthly possessions, fighting to keep our eyes open and frantically searching for WIFI; we’ve made homes in the unlikeliest of places, but have most often considered home to be more of a feeling than a location. For me, when we first started this grand exploration, well, I didn’t quite feel that I had a home. And oddly, even though we have become only more transient, I somehow feel as if I – as if we – have more of a home than ever before. In fact, we have dozens of them.
I know I speak for all of us when I say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all who facilitated this experience for us. A huge thank you to Jackie, who is the only reason we are all here today with our heads intact and shoes on both feet. Thank you for providing us with so many new homes. From this point forward, it will be our responsibility to help make a home for those who come after us, and to attempt to make a difference with all of the knowledge we have accrued.
Hello, thank you all for joining us today. My name is Alec Stirton and I am honored to speak to you on the behalf of the 2013 class of GMT’s.
10 months. That’s how long most of us sitting up here with there ridiculous hats on have been with the company. It’s almost unbelievable how quickly it flew by. It was definitely the fastest 10 months of my life. From bunking up in the Drury for orientation, to the time in breweries, our WOD rotations, time spent in the field and finally our 4 month project, it’s safe to say we covered a lot of ground.
During all that time, we had the incredible opportunity to work with the innovations department through our Build a Brand project, and that is what this group of people has elected me, or offered me up depending how you look at it, to speak to you about today.
The summer before we started we were informed about the opportunity we would have to literally build a brand from conception to completion for the most innovation company within the alcohol industry. I mean this is a company that has been around and innovating for almost 100 years before the television was created. This seemed like a fairly daunting task. Here we are fresh out of school and we are posed with creating the next bud light platinum, the next Lime-A-Rita. I think the team will back me up here that those are hard acts to follow.
So we spent our summer preparing for everything this program would throw at us, all the while this exciting reminder laid in the back of our thoughts. We get to BUILD a brand. I remember talking with another GMT, Ben Graziano over the summer and naively coming to the conclusion that this would be EASY. “Dude, we should absolutely make a stout! I can’t believe no one in the company has thought of that yet!!”
Come to find out that in fact there is an entire department of talented people working tirelessly on hundreds of innovations at any given time. And yes, the novel idea of adding a stout to our portfolio had already been covered. (Side note, I just want to say that the bare knuckle tap handle is one of the best of all time, and I’m looking for one for my kegerator if anyone has an extra one lying around).
So finally when we got here to St. Louis and had a chance to sit down with Pat and Val, they explained the parameters of our project. We were to create a brand based on key consumer insights that launched under one of our flagship brands. Also, we needed to keep in mind the specific consumer demographic, the entire brewing recipe and including costs, transportation of the product, the branding, the packaging, volume projections and a 1YP around activation, oh and by the way it had to sell 200,000 barrels. But we got to work.
Part of this experience was learning to work with a group of the most competitive people I have EVER met. At first we were hesitant to share ideas within our group, god forbid the other team (shout out team hops). But soon we found that everyone had different backgrounds grounded in difference experiences and perspectives that would help shape the end products we are so excited to share with you today. More than anything, we have been exposed to the framework of which this company operates within. We have identified key consumer insights that will help drive incremental growth while leveraging our company’s core strengths in brand recognition and scale. Ultimately it has been a great opportunity to learn and grow as new AB InBev employees.
As the past class of GMT’s warned us, this wouldn’t come easy, but sometimes you need to go through something yourself to really appreciate the another person’s advise. This process was in fact, a challenge.
On our team alone we went through the concepts of a coffee beer, a tea infused beer, a long island ice tea, a cucumber mint…thing, a beer cocktail, pre-prohibition cocktail, ginger beer, and at one point Sam even recommended we just pitch the idea of bottling water. What a big reveal that would have been huh?
But through the stage gate processes, the late night phone calls across multiple time zones and countries, we were able to complete this task of identifying 2 unique gaps in our vast portfolio and we have them here for you today. Obviously none of this would have been possible without the help and guidance of a large number of you in the room today. In particular, Colleen Lucas, Rod Reed, Dharma Tamm, Rob Naylor, Jim Efftink, Kate Neff, Pat and Val of course. This group has massive responsibility on their plate as is, and they took the time to go above and beyond and help us work towards our final product. For all your efforts, we sincerely thank you.
This industry is an ever changing one, now more than ever. With spirits and those annoying craft guys nipping at our heals, it is extremely important that we continue to innovate to build upon the historic success this company is known for.
It’s a tall task, but we truly do have the most driven, dedicated, and insightful group of employees here at ABI, as we learned through our work with all of you over these past 10 months. No one knows what the future holds for this company or for the future of the industry we work in, but to me that is the exciting part. We are the industry leaders and we have the reach, the brewing capabilities, the sales force, the marketing department unrivaled by anyone else. We have brands that are some of the most recognizable across all industries in the globe. With things like this on your side, it’s hard not to be excited about what the future will bring. This is an exciting time for the class of 2013 GMT’s and for the company as a whole. We look forward to the challenge of shaping the future of this company and thank you for the opportunity to work with all of you throughout the course of our build a brand project.
On behalf of all the GMT’s up here today, we thank you.
“Every chapter has an ending, but every ending is just a new beginning.”
Spring has arrived and that means the 2013-2014 GMT program is coming to an end! I cannot believe how quickly the past ten months have gone by. I can still remember… the Senior Leader Breakfast last February where we got to meet our class for the first time; checking into each apartment in St. Louis, LA, Tulsa, and Atlanta; the presentations throughout training weeks in St. Louis and the lasting impressions they had on me. The list could go on and on. More than anything, I would like to take the time to thank the rest of the GMT13 class, our fearless leader (Jaclyn), and everyone at AB who continues to support the GMT program.
Spring has arrived at the St. Louis Brewery!
Before all of the graduation excitement can begin, we all must deliver during our last few days in our 4-month project assignments. I have been working hard in the St. Louis Operations Department to drive awareness and understanding of how to react appropriately to low and high fills on a can or bottle line. When I first started the project, I took manual measurements at all of the fillers (5 can lines & 4 bottle lines) every day. Since this proved to be too small of a sample size to work with, I implemented a continuous data pull using a PLC calculation. After lots of data analysis, I developed a monitoring tool that drives financial savings when used proactively. I also had the opportunity to work with some of our filler operators to develop a two-tiered reaction plan to be carried out when low or high fills cause extreme losses on a line.
For our final week of the program (Graduation), we will reunite as a class for a few days in Chicago. We will get some last-minute training done and we will also get to have breakfast with the Board of Directors. This will be an incredibly unique opportunity that we are all looking forward to. After that, we will have our Graduation ceremonies and Build-A-Brand reveal back at the corporate offices in St. Louis. For graduation, we have all been instructed to design an Anheuser-Busch-inspired cap. I already know which brand I’m going to focus on, so now I just need to buy the materials!
What’s next for me? I am moving to the Cartersville Brewery near Atlanta to work as a Group Manager in the Brewing Department. I am looking forward to joining the team there while continuing to see what amazing things my fellow GMTs can accomplish.
Buffalo Chicken Totchos in Atlanta…need I say more?!
To the GMT14s: get ready for the best 10 months of your life!
To everyone else reading: thanks for following our journey!!
Unfortunately, my new title is not as awesome as “Purveyor of beers,” but as I start to look at my training in the rearview mirror in the car that is my career, I look ahead to the road of becoming a sales rep in this dynamic industry.
After putting the finishing touches on my Field Assignment, and handing over the final deliverables, I’ve begun to make the transition into my new role a bit ahead of schedule. I’ve been given a whole territory full of exciting new opportunities, both on and off premise, that I’ll be managing full time for the foreseeable future! It’s going to require another move, yet it’s comforting knowing that there will be more stability than simply 4 weeks in duration. I’m not at liberty to discuss too many of the details surrounding the new role, but I am certainly excited to make the full transition and start to work hard at driving results for a new team!
Some of my new tasks will include: making daily sales calls to different restaurants, bars, stores, and everything in between, developing promotional strategies for specific partner accounts, and driving incremental volume wherever possible in order to help the team stay ahead of forecasts. Due to the regulatory nature of Canadian beer sales, there are very specific channels of off-premise that I’m going to be responsible for within my new territory as well. The great thing about working as part of a sales team is just that, the team dynamics that come with knowing that each week, your work will either help or hinder the progress of the entire team. Furthermore, knowing that there are numbers to describe each and every result in your own world of sales is a pretty amazing benefit, as you can see the direct impact of your work.
Since the beginning of the program, I’ve taken significantly less photos, therefore it’s fitting that at this point so close to the end, and I have nothing new and exciting to share… so here’s a photo of the latest addition to the Ontario market!
I’m not much for long goodbyes, but I will close by saying that I’ve had a great time in the program thus far, and I’m excited to learn new skills and take advantage of new opportunities within the commercial organization at ABI! It’s been a blast blogging with you, cheers!
For my final blog post I felt a recap of my experiences in the GMT program would be appropriate. So what does separate a Trainee from say a typical “I just graduated college first position?” Well…….
Trainees look forward to college graduation – Instead of dreading college graduation; Trainees can actually get excited about it! Trainees have the opportunity to work for the best beer company in the world while traveling the country learning and developing technical, leadership, and managerial skills. Not to mention, all of our expenses are covered leaving a pretty sizeable disposable income for just graduating college.
Trainees are very mobile – I have lived in St. Louis, Atlanta, Columbus, Denver, L.A., and Jacksonville in a 10-month time span. Living in so many different cities has not only allowed me to explore new cities and make new friends, but it has also made a lot of awesome weekend trips possible including Las Vegas, New York, Disney World, Chicago, Nashville, San Diego, Breckenridge, Boulder, Asheville, Colorado Springs, Cedar Point, St. Augustine, Hilton Head, and the list goes on… You could say Trainees know a thing or two about how to pack a suitcase.
Trainees have an appetite for learning – I still have not heard of any other position with any other company (Budweiser creed anyone?) that gives you exposure to literally every single facet of the company in the first year (unless it’s a very small company). Trainees start off in St. Louis where they get an introduction to the country, zone, and global operations. Trainees then move out to the breweries where they rotate through every department – brewing, packaging, logistics, utilities, maintenance, people, and quality assurance. Trainees then move to the commercial side of the business where they spend time in both a wholesaler and a regional sales office, while once again rotating through every department and job function. Trainees are then sent back to St. Louis to learn about all of the corporate functions including information business services, marketing, legal, corporate affairs, logistics, procurement, finance, and people. Trainees then have the opportunity to manage a four-month project that drives improvement at a brewery, sales office, WOD, or corporate function. Needless to say, Trainees know a little about a whole lot in the beer industry.
Trainees have a big network – possibly the most appealing aspect to the GMT program is the sizeable network that you create in a 10-month time span. First, we have the network of Trainees which includes current and alumni Trainees across the globe. The North American Zone 2013 GMT class has 19 Trainees while the Global 2013 GMT class has ~140 Trainees across the world. Second, we have the network of people we meet and interact with through our rotations which includes people in the breweries, sales offices, WODs, and corporate functions – I’m just going to estimate at ~300 people. Last but not least, we have the network of senior leaders that we meet and interact with throughout the program through project presentations, mentorships, and social interactions such as happy hours. By the time the program ends, Trainees have a network that is rivaled by maybe only Verizon…
Trainees get a lot of exposure – I don’t know of many positions out college that allow you to present projects and ideas to the senior leaders of the company from both a zone and global perspective – especially in a company the size of AB InBev. As stated above, Trainees have a lot of interactions with senior leaders throughout the program. Trainees also get a ton of exposure and interaction with the leadership teams in the breweries, regional sales offices, WODs, and corporate functions.
Trainees get to build a brand – One of the coolest projects in the program is the Build-a-Brand innovations project where we get to create a new beer brand and follow the structured stage gate process that our innovations department follows to rollout new products. We come up with the concept, determine our target consumers/occasions, develop the liquid, develop the packaging, create the marketing plan, calculate the financials, and present the final product to the senior leaders.
Trainees have big expectations – the company invests a lot of time and resources into developing Trainees, because Trainees are expected to be leaders in the company and drive improvement in every single job function. A question I get asked quite often is: “Well, what do you do after the program is over?” The answer is: absolutely anything you want. If a Trainee wants to go into marketing, sales, brewing, logistics, people, Clydesdale training, or whatever else – it is up to them to go after it and make it happen. So what I am going to be? Well, Carlos Brito of course…
I hope it is apparent that the Global Management Trainee program is an unbelievable opportunity and one that should be taken full advantage of…. In case you are interested in a quick life update of what I have been up to in Jacksonville, see below:
Player’s Championship at TPC Sawgrass
Golf on the beach
Golf on the marsh
And finally more golf
$25,000 Smart Bottle that measures line pressure
Amish life: making apartment furniture to save some $$$
My alarm clock….
The happiest or unhappiest place on earth – depending on your patience
Yikes, the GMT program sure has moved fast. It feels like only a couple weeks ago that I was wrapping up my six week rotation here at the LA Brewery—and that was back in September! Now it’s nearly May and I am busy grinding on my project, incorporating some of our tools to sustain so that the practices and procedures I’ve implemented will have a lasting effect.
Along the way, I’ve had some fantastic opportunities and learned some valuable lessons. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to present my project to Zone and Global level management—even now it is still surprising to me how visible GMT’s are within the company. I’ve also learned the challenges involved with driving behavioral change amongst an entire workforce. It’s not easy, but by using our VPO tools and being on the floor daily to interact directly with our operators, these changes can be implemented more systematically and seamlessly.
There’s only about a month left in our program, but our responsibilities are far from over! As previous posts have mentioned, we have our Build a Brand project presentations to MANCOM coming up during our final capstone week. It’s an intimidating prospect—to have your team’s entire year’s worth of work presented in only 20 minutes, but I’m confident in our team, the brand we’ve developed, and most importantly, I’m confident we will conquer the other team (boom, shots fired!).
After the program, I’m excited to be joining the IBS Infrastructure Projects team in St. Louis where I’ll be working on implementing and designing technology solutions for our company. It’s moving pretty fast, but I can’t wait to start my new position, move into my sweet apartment with fellow GMT’s, and then spend the summer watching the World Cup, brought you by Budweiser.
This is probably my last post and I just want to thank you, Lager Blogger nation. You have all been incredible and I hope you follow next year’s talented class with the same enthusiasm!
Today I’m happy to reveal the GMT13’s first placements starting this June! While we still have a month to go on our projects, on behalf of all the GMTs, I’d like to thank all those who have provided us so much support and patience as we learned the ins and outs of ABInBev. All the questions you fielded, hours you spent letting us shadow you, and countless presentations you put together specifically for our group is appreciated beyond words. You are all the reason we will be starting in such challenging and exciting roles.
See the table below and feel free to reach out to our group if you have any questions about our first role!
At this point in the program, we’re over two months into our projects. I’m currently working in the trade marketing department based out of St. Louis. My four month project involved helping out with a specific pilot program with twenty of our wholesalers. The wholesalers were using our planning tools and executing a lot of the components that we developed in trade marketing.
Throughout the pilot, the participating wholesalers were very insightful and eager to help make improvements to the planning process. Overall, the pilot went really well, and we were able to improve the way we strategically plan displays at the retail level. The pilot led to some key takeaways and best practices that we were able to cascade to the rest of the nation during a Functional Training Forum, which is a live broadcast to all of Anheuser-Busch and its wholesaler network! It was pretty cool being able to present the stuff I worked on to so many people, so quickly.
Once my main project ended, I’ve been able to dip my hands in a variety of other smaller projects around the department. By helping my team out wherever I can, I feel like I’ve gotten a much better understanding of how things work in the trade marketing department and the beer industry as a whole.
In addition to our personal projects nearing their final deadlines, my team has also been closing in on our final product for the GMT Build-a-Brand project. At this point in the process, we have almost everything we need to present to MANCOM. While there have been a few bumps along the way, I have to admit, my team has come a long way throughout this process. It’s amazing to see how a brand could start from scratch and actually grow to become something very dynamic and unique. The liquid tastes great, so hopefully it’s something you’ll be able to buy on the shelves at your local grocery store in the near future!
Overall, my experience in the GMT program has been amazing so far. I still can’t believe how fast it’s gone since starting at the end of July. It’s crazy to think of how much I’ve learned and experienced since I started the program. I’ve lived in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Louisville, Chicago and then back in St. Louis. I’ve done everything from riding along with sales reps and truck drivers, shadowing bottlers on the production line and raking out chip tanks with the brewers to name a few. Each day has been as exciting at the last, and I’m eager to start my new role in the marketing department in St. Louis following the end of the program in May.
This is Evan saying hey from the Baldwinsville, NY Brewery where we received a total of 122in of snow this winter! It looks like we are not quite out of the woods yet, but things are definitely starting to look up.
Posting up with friends and a Bucket of Bud Light after finishing the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day 5k. It was a ton of fun, but definitely no Half-Marathon (Congrats Ashley, Alec, Alaina, and Sarah!)
My project here in Baldwinsville, focused on improving the volume throughput from our variety pack line, is moving along nicely. I am in the middle of a PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act), a problem solving tool used to identify performance or cost gaps and take corrective action to close them. I am also building and implementing tools identified by our plant management strategy, VPO (Voyager Plant Optimization). So far I have worked with the line operators to build a business description, which identifies the goals and products of the line and identifies its internal and external customers, and a process map which breaks down the line into the individual tasks performed, identifying the ones which are most critical. These tools are important because they organize and manage the variety packing process and identify the behaviors and methods that lead to improvement. It has been a long process, but we are starting to see some great results. Last week we posted a single day line record for 12pks. And because this is the only variety pack line in the Global ABI Brewery System, I guess it is a world record!
Aside from work I have taken a couple of great trips recently. For St. Patrick’s Day I traveled to Boston to participate in the Boys and Girls Club of South Boston St. Patrick’s 5k and then watch the historic South Boston Parade. Last weekend I stayed with friends in New York City and enjoyed two perfect, sunny and 70° days in Central Park as well as some sightseeing and of course Bud drinking in the West Village. As things start to warm up around here I look forward to experiencing some of the great natural beauty that Baldwinsville and Syracuse have to offer. Only 6 more weeks to soak it all up!
Taking some time to thaw out in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow this last weekend
Hey everyone! It’s Ashley checking in from the slightly warmer St. Louis office. Our projects are really starting to pick up as we enter the last two months of the program. But, when we aren’t busy running around the office, we’re running the streets of our cities!
A big part of working at Anheuser-Busch is setting “stretch targets”, or challenging goals that you never imagined yourself achieving beforehand. This past weekend, a few of the GMTs ran in two different half marathons across the country. Sarah ran the Hollywood Half Marathon in Los Angeles, while Alec, Alaina, and I participated in the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon. For someone like me, who has never run more than 3 miles straight in her life, finishing my first half marathon was definitely the achievement of a personal “stretch target”.
See below for some of our pictures during the grueling 13.1 mile race!
The St. Louis Crew and their loyal fans carb up before the big race!
Roadrunner Sarah looking strong at the Hollywood Half
The AAA Dream Team – Ashley, Alaina, and Alec
Beer – the world’s most effective motivator!
Running is a family affair!
Left – Alaina and Papa Fuller; Right – Ashley and her sister Jennifer
Alaina, Courtney, and Ashley at the finish line of the St. Louis GO! Half Marathon
[EDITORS NOTE: Having issues again with pictures being uploaded. Stay tuned…]
Hello again from Cow Town – Calgary, Alberta (Canada)!
Boy has time flown since my last post. I’ve been to back to St. Louis, experienced the most unbelievable week in Toronto for our National Sales Conference, spent time with some GMT boys in NYC, and am already half way done my Project Assignment here in Calgary. What a ride it has been.
For the Lager Blogger regulars out there, you have already gotten a run down from Taylor on what our projects entailed. Namely, we have been visiting and “calling on” a number of Uncalled on restaurants and bars with the focus to ensure they keep the newly acquired Corona & hopefully push some other draught lines into these accounts. On top of that we have just gotten into running our National insights survey for the Corona brand – trying to find out what we can improve on since taking over from our biggest competitors as well as gaining a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the most imported brand in the world. Last, there is a lot of free-balling as I like to call it. Being in the fast moving consumer goods industry there are new challenges daily, and being an extra body around the office means spending lots of time helping fill voids and close gaps. Especially being at the office here in Calgary where there has been lots of expanding (we have taken on 6 additional bodies since me being here) there is always lots of action to immerse myself in.
One of the biggest highlights of moving to Calgary for a few months was being so close to the Rocky Mountains – but I just did not realize how incredible it really would be. Growing up in Ontario, I was brought up skiing/snowboarding on hills the size of a Tim Horton’s (Dunkin’ Donuts) muffin tops. Needless to say, it has been a whole new world out West, where I have spent 3 of my 6 weekends here in the Rockies snowboarding with Taylor who has come down from Edmonton. We have gone out to BC for Panorama, and stayed local at Lake Louise, and Castle Mountain – none of which were more then a 3 hour drive. It was my first time snow-boarding a real mountain, in real snow and I have not been able to get enough. I have had friends in the past talk about their ski trips and this mystifying, bewildering, notion of “Pow”, and just nodded my head pretending to understand like I was back in Quebec. But getting to experience “Pow” for my first time out here, I now understand the obsession with the Pursuit of Powder and the life changing experience that it really can be.
Tuesday was April Fools Day, and being the fool that I am I made sure to find the opportunity to give my Canadian co-GMTs a little scare. This week we will all be finding out our first positions – which as you can imagine is a pretty big deal (might be the understatement of the century). So with a little help from our incredible boss, I put together a little ploy to advise the other GMTs that our roles were selected and that they were probably as far from optimal as I could get them to believe realistically. Well, it worked. After Darren caught on too quick, he jumped along to help out and we took Taylor and Kristina on a roller coaster ride of a day. Lines were crossed, tears were shed, and relationships were shattered (and eventually put back together). Ultimately, it was a successful April Fool’s Day prank.
So, what else? A huge pro of the office in Calgary is all the sponsorships we have here. Labatt sponsors the Calgary Flames (NHL), the Hitmen (WHL), Rouchnecks (NLL) and a lot of the Ski resorts. So I have had the pleasure of enjoying some great nights out on behalf of the company. Also for the first time in the last 8 months, I feel like I actually live in a city. 4 week rotations are just not long enough to settle down, unpack your clothes, and learn your way around a city. But now it has been 8 weeks In Calgary for me, and I feel like I live here. And it is a really cool feeling. Sad/exciting to think I may find out in a few days that I will be packing up and moving somewhere new, but that’s just the nature of the #GMTlife. And you know what… we wouldn’t want it any other way. Well that is a bold-face lie, but hey if it was All-or-Nothing, it would be the easiest decision of my life to do it all over again.
Taylor has come to Calgary a few times, so it is only fair that I finally go up to Edmonton to visit him. Some would say that is like a friend from NYC going to visit a friend in New Jersey for a weekend – but everyone gives Edmonton too hard a time up here and I am looking forward to checking out his set up. We will do some ABI/Labatt product testing for quality consistency assurance, some bar hopping to hunt potential partners for future business, and meet some new people to understand differences in our consumer in Edmonton
That is all for now – looking forward to finding out the location and nature of my first position and hopefully getting reminded what Spring feels like soon enough.
Hello, from the finally warming up city of St. Louis!
The days are flying by here in St. Louis, as we are over halfway through our project assignments, and anxiously awaiting to find out our first placements. So far, I have truly enjoyed working in IBS in Application Development.
I have already gained more knowledge and experience than I had ever expected. Learning and meeting with all types of people from different functions and departments has opened my eyes to everything AB has to offer. My assignment the last two months has revolved around APO, which is a huge Logistics and IBS project requiring the collaboration of multiple departments and employees. It has been really cool to be part of a project that has such a large impact on moving beer more efficiently and effectively out our doors.
Although my project takes most of time, I am able to get out and enjoy my time on the weekends in St. Louis. St. Louis has some great indoor and outdoor soccer teams that have been a great way to relax and get back in tune with my passion for soccer. Living downtown has also been a great benefit. On St. Patrick ’s Day weekend it was cool to watch the marathon and all the events taking place downtown. Next stop for me is to check out Ballpark Village downtown and all the amazing bars and technology it has to offer!
Hello everyone—Kelsey here! Checking in from the Region 3 Office in Johns Creek (Atlanta), Georgia.
Just like everyone else, I’ve been working on my project for two months as of today! I have had the best time here in not-so-HOTlanta. The first day here, Sammy J and I went to a beer fest held in Midtown and enjoyed the delicious new Mang-O-Rita. If you haven’t already, you should get your hands on one ASAP! We barely had anytime to get settled at work before we got stuck in the freak 2-inch snowstorm back in late January. Due to the traffic caused by everyone leaving work at once, I was in the car for 2.5 hours for what should have been a 40-minute commute! I can’t complain, though—Sam left the Cartersville Brewery at 1pm and got to our apartments in Buckhead at 8pm. The next freak storm (two weeks later) was much more bearable. Everyone was extra cautious and we got a work-from-home “snowday” that ended up being a “40-Degree Weather and a Few Raindrops Day.” It ended up snowing the next day and I trekked 1 mile in the snow (uphill both ways, of course) to enjoy a Bud Light at my favorite bar. #worthit
We don’t do this “snow” things very well down here
Weather in Atlanta has its mood-swings so of course it got up to 70 for the next couple of weeks. Sam, some other friends, and I enjoyed Oysterfest sponsored by Budweiser one Saturday in February! It was a blast. My family visited a few weeks later and we saw the Book of Mormon at The Fox. I’ve certainly enjoyed being back in my home state and college city. I’m missing all my St. Louis friends and can’t wait to be back there in May!
My project is going extremely well! It is my job to develop a promotion calendar to easily see when promotions are being offered for specific brands and packages in each state. I spent the first couple weeks (when I wasn’t stuck in the snow) getting access to and becoming acquainted with the programs in place. I worked with the new Region 3 Promo Manager, Nitesh, to develop a plan and write code on an existing document to accomplish the task of developing this calendar. We have sent it out to some Region 3 KAMs to get some feedback and are wrapping up with the finishing touches now! In the meantime, I have been fortunate to be able to get out in the market with DMs and KAMs quite often. I am really enjoying my experience thus far and cannot believe the program is coming to an end!
Me and my best friend, Eliz, enjoying a cold one!
Some Altanta Skyline POCM (that’s a pint glass if you can’t tell)
So we had a beautiful few days last week in St. Louis but I woke up this morning and had to brush snow off of my car before driving to work… there is no logic in this place.
Luckily there is some logic in the office and I’ve been having an amazing time working on the Bud Light brand team for the past couple months. I’m working with extensions and primarily on the Rita family doing disruptive marketing. If you are unfamiliar with the Ritas (mang-o-rita and raz-ber-rita in particular), you are missing out.
The team has been awesome at helping me learn some of the ropes and making me feel a part of the team really quickly. But that makes sense because everything around here moves at an Usain Bolt-esque pace. A suggestion that I received on day 1 that I don’t think I would have survived this long without was to track all ongoing projects and requests in a excel sheet – I now suggest this to everyone… for everything.
Outside of work I’ve been prepping for Brochella, which is good gym motivation after some of the longer days. So far we’re going as TMNT, Avengers, and Power Rangers. Also – just found out Em is headlining Friday of Lolla; for me that’s a must.
We’re about halfway through our spring projects and it sounds like everyone is working hard to drive some great results in their locations. I’ve been working on a project very similar to Nate’s in Jacksonville: glass loss.
Glass is a pretty major expense when it comes to producing beer, and it’s an ongoing battle to stop the breakage. Here in Cartersville, we’ve formed a Green Belt team to tackle brewery wide glass loss. For those who are unaware, a Green Belt team is based on the Six Sigma methodology of quality management. The overall idea is to limit defects in a manufacturing setting, which in our case are the glass bottles we lose. Using statistics, root cause analysis, and other types of process control tools, we can identify and repair the biggest hitters of our problem.
A new drop out plan added to the line to catch those pretty blue Platinum bottles so they can be put back on the line
So far it’s been very interesting project, with a lot of opportunities to learn from managers and operators alike. Our team works closely with all different types of personnel to find the most efficient and cost saving solutions. The ultimate result is to bring our loss down, and that’s what we will continue to do!
Beyond the project, I had the chance to be involved in our Global Brewery Excellence Program. In 2013, Cartersville was deemed the best brewery in the North American zone based on our results and our processes. Because of that accolade, we were pitted against all breweries in the ABInBev system; over 100 in total! A group of global representatives arrived for a two day audit of our people, processes, and results. Although we didn’t top the charts on the Global level, the team here is proud of everyone for all their hard work and dedication. The auditors left us with a great list of things we can continue to improve upon, and the Cartersville team has high hopes to be in the running for the best brewery in the system again next year.
The Hog Roast after the first night of the audit. The global team was welcomed to the aromas of a smoking wild hog throughout the entire brewery. I feel southern y’all…
Outside of work I have been enjoying the southern hospitality and weather immensely. I’ve already played numerous rounds of golf and been able to run outside since the beginning of February. We’ve already planned many trips to the beach over the next couple months which is a luxury I never had in Minnesota.
A long weekend trip to Charleston and Kiawah Island with my family for golf and beaches
Beach on the left, multimillion dollar houses on the right. I hit them both…
That’s all for now! The projects are flying by, and I have to admit I’m a little excited to see the GMT13 crew back in STL for our capstone!
Hey everyone – it’s Sarah here from the sales office in Region 8 (sunny California)! I’ve spent the last two months laughing at all of my fellow GMTs as they dig themselves out of snow drifts and are forced to defrost their toes on an hourly basis. It was a little windy here yesterday due to the minor EARTHQUAKE we had yesterday morning, but that was a small price to pay for year-round 70 degree sunny weather.
My four month project is focused on improving some of the key systems we use to sell our beer. The first is an online portal utilized by account managers, and the second is the process used to classify retail accounts when new licenses are opened. I’m speaking with people in the field, understanding the technology, gathering data, and providing feedback to help improve the functionality, accuracy, and value of these two areas.
While I’m in the region office, I’ve also been picking up some work with the pricing team, which has been really interesting. I’m learning a lot of excel skills, as well as learning how to use all of our internal reporting systems to manipulate data.
When I’m not at work (or sitting in LA traffic (it’s really not that bad though when you can roll the windows down and cruise), Suraj and I have been TEARING up the city! From pub crawls in Hermosa and hiking the Griffith Observatory to In-N-Out and exploring San Diego and San Francisco, we’ve done it all.
The Hermosa Beach Pier
Kings vs. Ducks
Pacific Cove Beach in Malibu
Until next time! Stay warm everyone – I’ll try to send some of this delightful weather your way!
Taylor here saying hi from up in Edmonton, Alberta. I have been here for the past 5 weeks and I am absolutely loving my current role.
The four Canadians have been spread across the country stretching from the Toronto/Montreal in the east all the way to Edmonton/Calgary in the west. We are all currently working in sales rep roles managing upwards of 75 bars/restaurants/retail stores. Sales rep roles in Canada are very different than USA as we don’t have the three tier system. Reps are responsible for managing all the relationships and sell-in of all our products. My specific list of customers is pretty unique and broad. I have some of the large grocery store banners in the Edmonton Area as well as the single largest bar chain around Edmonton (as far as Labatt volume is concerned) and some non-called on bars/restaurants. Non-called on customers are ones that currently do not have rep visiting them at all. My role is to simply try to sell in new draught lines and bottle listings to increase our visibility and market share in those on-premise locations. With my large bar chain the work is very differently, its managing their budget and executing all their events. The front line sales experience I have already gained is providing me with so much more context and understanding of the technical and strategic things we have learned so far as GMTs. I am really looking forward to finishing out my next 3 months here and continuing to contribute to the great sales team that Labatt/ABI has out here in the West Region.
But enough about work, the first thing I thought about when I was told I was coming out west was “Amazing, I’m going to spend so much time skiing in the mountains”. I have definitely accomplished this. For my first three weekends here I was deep in the Rocky Mountains getting up to waste deep in nice fluffy powder. Whether it was on my skis or my snowboard I have loved the mountain life. Being a downhill ski racer for 10 years when I was younger and skiing exclusively in the east, I am literally in heaven out west! My first 3 weekends out here were split between Lake Louise, Whistler Blackcomb and Panorama Mountain. All 3 weekends were some of the greatest riding and partying I have ever done. The final weekend when I was in Panorama, Labatt actually officially took over Corona distribution in Canada so that lead to quite a good party. Just to give you a real feeling for the amazing places I have been able to explore here are some pictures of each place. Though the pictures don’t even come close to doing it justice they can at least give you an idea. Week 1 in Lake Louise we spend riding deep in the trees in knee deep fresh untouched powder. For you non skiers this is some of the nicest skiing you can ever get in to. Week 2 in Whistler was even a level above. I spent my Whistler weekend snowboarding and ended up waste deep in light fluffy amazing west coast blower pow. The third and final weekend was forecasted to be -22 F at Panorama. Expecting to be riding in the bitter cold, out we went all bundled up. To our surprise it only got to about 14 F, yet again another perfect weekend of knee deep untouched snow. For non skiers, you really don’t understand how rare and perfect it is to get 3 straight weekends of perfect conditions. I have been skiing my whole life since I was 3 years old and I have never been able to find this before. I really have found my new home out west and never want to go back east, haha.
Cheers to Corona, 12:01 right after we took over!
Well that’s all for me this round, talk to you all in a few weeks and hopefully I will have some more amazing updates and pictures to share.
Budweiser is sponsoring a petition to make MLB Opening Day a national holiday! Sign the petition at the link above and help push the petition to the White House! We all could use an extra day off to watch America’s National Past Time with a couple of Buds…
No Sign of Spring Showers or Flowers Here in St. Louis
I’m not sure if you all have been following the weather lately, but there have been little to no signs of spring here in St. Louis (or anywhere in the Midwest for that matter). Speaking from personal experience, traveling this winter has been nearly impossible. From delayed flights to cancelled flights to frozen fuel tanks for planes, I feel like I have an entirely new understanding of winter weather woes.
Good thing my four-month project has nothing to do with weather forecasting or predicting when spring will bloom! Instead, my project is on the Supply side of the organization, more specifically in the St. Louis Packaging Department. The St. Louis Packaging facility is unique because it is a multi-level operation. There are 5 can lines, 4 bottle lines, and 1 keg line. My project is to gain a greater insight into how bottles and cans are filled and how we can make sure that our consumer is happy with a perfect 12 oz. fill. I’m looking closely into how we can make our fills more consistent across all brands and package types so we don’t lose beer unnecessarily. It has been a really good project experience thus far, and I’m looking forward to hopefully delivering some key insights and results over the next few months.
Before graduation, we also must complete our Build-A-Brand Innovations project assignment. Since I’m in St. Louis with some fellow Team Hops members, it has been really busy scheduling meetings with various departments. Some of these departments include: Packaging Innovations, Liquid Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Brand Teams. I’m really excited to see what we come up!
Outside of work, I have been busy exploring St. Louis with the other GMTs. A few weeks ago, Courtney, Ashley, and I explored Cherokee Street where we went to a coffee shop that sold coffee and beer. It’s my dream come true!
Foam Coffee & Beer
Mardis Gras was also this past weekend, so there were lots of celebrations. Did you know that St. Louis has the second biggest Mardis Gras in the country? It was a really chilly day on Saturday, but the parade went all the way from Busch Stadium to the Brewery. Anheuser-Busch products were well-represented both at the parade and in the local bars of Soulard.
Hey bloggers, this is Nate checking in from the largest city in the sunshine state – Jacksonville, Florida (betcha didn’t know that).
For the past five weeks I have been working at the JAX brewery on my four-month project which is focused on improving glass loss and glass loss tracking. Glass loss is a key initiative for the JAX brewery as we were $400,000 over our budget in 2013. We have initiated three glass loss PDCAs to ensure we hit our 2014 glass usage budget. A PDCA is an organized approach to problem solving that has four stages – Plan, Do, Check, Act. We are currently in the Planning stage for each of the PDCAs, which means we have been doing non-stop data analysis, observation, time studies, cause and effect analysis, root cause analysis, etc. to identify our largest areas of glass loss for each packaging line. Once we finalize the Plan stage, we will formulate an action log that addresses our largest loss opportunities leading to sustainable glass loss improvement. My role in the glass loss improvement efforts has been leading and facilitating the glass loss PDCAs and building an automated glass loss tracking and analysis tool that gives daily visibility into how we perform vs. our 2014 glass usage budget. The tracking and analysis tool – which I have dubbed the Glass Master 3000 – is nearing completion and will hopefully become a tool that can be utilized by all breweries in the zone.
Glass Loss PDCA Storyboard
Outside of work, the past five weeks have been extremely busy and fun-filled. I made a trip to NYC the weekend of the Super Bowl to attend a party that featured a Jay-Z performance. Janelle, Andrew, Suraj, Alec, Ben Graziano, and Ben Walters were all able to make the trip as well – it turned out to be a mini GMT reunion.
Super Bowl weekend in NYC
Of course living in Florida has it perks and I have taken full advantage of them – golfing, kayaking, hanging at the beach, eating fresh seafood, hanging at the pool, and golfing some more.
Kayaking with my lovely girlfriend Raylene
Golfing with the girlfriend
Weekend trip to St. Augustine – the oldest settled city in the U.S. (1565)
I have also been volunteering at Habijax (Habitat for Humanity in JAX) every Saturday with a team from the brewery. Habitat is a great teambuilding activity and part of ABInBev’s Better World initiative.
The JAX brewery Habitat for Humanity team
Last but certainly not least – well maybe least in terms of physical size – I got a new puppy!
Not until you are 3 Jax! (Dog year conversion: 3*7 = 21)
Meet Jax – appropriately named after his hometown – he is a 1 pound teacup Morkie (Maltese and Yorkie mix) which is a great breed for people with dog allergies such as myself. He has kept me up many a night with puppy crying, but he makes up for it when I am greeted by this face every day after work
Good d’eh readers – Darren here again from Canada, specifically in the beautiful city of Toronto, Ontario, to update you on another 25% of Team Canada’s GMT adventure.
Now that our group has been divided across the country, and the separation anxiety has passed, I’m excited to share some of the details of my field assignment. I’ve been assigned to one of the sales districts in Ontario and been placed into an entry-level sales role with the task of generating incremental sales from a large list of clients. The best part about this project is being able to adapt to a routine and to the best of my ability create the experience of a true sales rep for a beer company. All of the Canadian GMTs have also been tasked with a few side projects to work on, on top of our daily sales calls. It’s been awesome so far and I’m really looking forward to continuing to learn about the front line field sales role at ABI.
Sales Reps get the best tools…
Some of the cool things going on from a marketing point of view are surrounding Budweiser and hockey. Most people are aware of the Budweiser Red Lights in Canada that go off when a goal is scored and lights up your living room at home. If that wasn’t exciting enough, the Budweiser Canada marketing team created a 70ft Budweiser Red Light Blimp – THE RED ZEPPLIN! This was created to be the world’s biggest goal light, and was activated during the Olympics to fly around Canada and light up whenever Team Canada scored in hockey! They moved this thing all over the country and created some really cool visibility for Budweiser.
Budweiser Red Zepplin in Toronto
That’s all for now! Will more than likely know where I’ll be placed by the next time I post so I’d like to take this time to thank you for reading about my journey thus far. Cheers!
Howdy ya’ll. I’ve been living large and doing it big the last four weeks in Houston. When they say everything’s bigger in Texas they really mean it. This past January the Houston brewery produced a record number of barrels surpassing that of even St. Louis! Even with its 13.5 million barrel capacity though, the supply is still not enough to meet the demand of all those thirsty Texans. In fact, 10% of all beer consumption takes places in the Lone Star State. Along with its own set of Bud and Bud Light labels, Texas even has its own beer (Ziegenbock).
Good ol’ Texas pride
The project I am tasked with involves tracking the total extract loss throughout the brewery and connecting it to the financials for increased visibility. This reporting will give the senior management team visibility and the ability to close gaps in the brewing process. I am also under the process of benchmarking the preventative maintenance of our focus lines with other breweries in the NAZ. This will reduce downtime due to equipment failure and increase the overall equipment effectiveness of our lines. In my spare time I’ve been exploring what Houston has to offer. I’ve shopped at the famous Galleria, ran in Hermann Park, and experienced the bustling nightlife of Midtown. But if there’s only one thing you do in Texas it should be to enjoy the amazing assortment of cuisines available. From Mexican to Asian, Houston has it all. But nothing does it quite like a thick cut steak. Currently the weather has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced in February. As things start to heat up there’s a lot more to look forward to. The Houston Livestock and Rodeo comes to town in March so I’ll have to wrangle myself a pair cowboy boots. It looks time for me to giddy up out of here. I’ll leave you all with some mouthwatering pictures.
What is that little bit of summer? As some of you know, AB Inbev bought Grupo Modelo some time ago, which comes with its famous brand Corona. We recently purchased the distribution rights to the brand from Molson, and we begin selling it on March 1st. Everyone is beyond excited about this new family member – it’s going to be the summer of Corona here!
We got a taste of how great the year was going to be at our annual sales conference. The conference was one of the most fun, packed, informative 3 days I’ve had. A TV sports announcer hosted it and she said that Labatt had the most energetic employees she had ever seen. Days went from 7am to sometimes 1am, with organized dinners and parties. We got a taste of the Sensation festival that we host every year, and we had regional dinners at some great Toronto bars. With over 700 participants, there was never a dull moment. We got to witness first hand the new plans for all of our brands, taste our new products, and the GMTs had the chance to get to know our new regions a little better.
The Canadian GMTs all have very similar projects – we are all in sales roles with a side project on the new launch of Corona. More specifically for myself, I am currently in a sales rep role calling on 101 non called on POCs across the Montreal area; specifically small c-stores with relatively low volume – the goal? Make them high potential and up their volumes! So far I have really enjoyed my experience. The team I am working with is filled with fantastic coaches, and teamwork is the main goal. I like being on the road and getting to meet some of the people who make the beer world turn – those who buy it!
Going on solo projects after an amazing month in St-Louis with the 19 GMTs, followed by a packed conference is definitely different – but I am loving the challenge that lies ahead, in a region that I love!
Hey everyone, this is Suraj checking in from Los Angeles. While the rest of the country seems to be experiencing a pretty brutal winter, it seems as if Los Angeles never really transitioned into that season—today at the brewery its about 75 degrees. Tough life.
The one problem with it always being summer here is that we don’t get a lot of rainfall in the southland—in fact, California is experiencing one of its most severe droughts in about 40 years with record low snowpack in the Sierras. With water being such an integral part of the beer making process, from brewing to operations, it’s imperative that we do our best to conserve our water usage. At the LA brewery, we currently use about 3.5 hl of water per hl of beer—our goal for this year is to achieve 3.0. It’s a tough target, but we have a lot of plans in place to help achieve that goal as we strive for our overall dream of being the best beer company in a better world.
The focus of my project here in LA is on energy modulation, in conjunction with energy and water conservation. Modulation means creating standard practices for consumption by assessing how and when energy or water is needed for a given process. For the past two weeks, I’ve gotten to work directly with a team from Zone Brewery Support in St. Louis to identify nearly all of the energy points on our packaging lines and ways we can conserve energy, from short down times to weekend shutdowns, without sacrificing production. We’re off to a great start and I hope that by the end of my project, the LA brewery will be the gold standard for energy modulation.
Aside from work, it’s been a blast getting to explore all that LA has to offer. Sarah is currently doing her project at the Region 8 sales office so we decided to share an apartment (voluntarily!). It’s been working out pretty well so far—last week we did a pub crawl in Hermosa and last night she hooked it up with Lakers tickets. We’ve even gotten to encounter celebrities—after the Laker game, Joseph Gordon-Levitt pulled up in the car next to us and waved. I think Sarah nearly passed out.
As a lifelong Lakers fan, this was an incredible experience.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading and I can’t wait to check in with you all again.
USA Today’s regarded “Ad Meter” names Puppy Love the best commercial of the 2014 Superbowl! If you haven’t seen it, take the time this Sunday afternoon to satisfy your cravings of puppies, Clydesdales, and a developing love story!
For the last week and a half I’ve been doing my five month GMT project in the trade marketing department in St. Louis. Put simply the trade marketing department helps bridge the gap between marketing and sales. We look at brand initiatives, new promotions, and other objectives and then create a game plan to insure execution for the sales department.
In my first few days, the office was pretty empty because so many employees were out in the field monitoring our Super Bowl execution in trade channels and accounts. Not to mention, on Monday, the employees here got a sneak peak of our Super Bowl advertisements that were going to be aired during the game. I have to say, it is pretty cool to see something before the rest of the public, and I really like the ads.
In the meantime, I tried to preemptively map out some action items and deliverables for my project. For my five month project, I’ll be helping to continue to improve some of the planning tools that our wholesalers use to target specific accounts. Then I’ll use feedback to standardize and improve various processes for the future. At this point, it’s been really helpful to have spent some time in the field with wholesalers, specifically during my rotation at the Louisville WOD. While I’m new to my position, I’ve had no problem understanding exactly what our wholesalers are talking about during our calls or picturing how they use these tool to improve their forecasts and planning by account. I’m really excited to see how my project and trade marketing knowledge progresses over the next few months.
Overall, St. Louis has been great so far. I love being in the Zone headquarters because you get the chance to interact with so many people from all different departments. It’s also been nice to settle in one place and not have to live out of a suitcase for months on end! There are seven of us with projects in St. Louis and we all live in the same building, which means it’s been easy to hang out a lot. We’ve actually gotten together for happy hours and dinner a few times. Thanks for reading, talk to you soon.
I am currently writing from our Baldwinsville, New York brewery where I have just wrapped up the first full week of my project assignment. As you read from Alec and Ashley, all 19 GMTs spent January in St. Louis for Zone Headquarters Training. One of my favorite experiences during this time was a plant tour at one of our glass suppliers in Pevely, MO where we got to see our cobalt blue Bud Light Platinum bottles being made.
GMT bonding with a little laser tag, rock climbing, basketball, and putt-putt
I am still settling in here and getting to know the brewery and what I will be working on for the next four months. My project here in Baldwinsville is to optimize our variety pack line, which unpacks cases of products and reassembles them into new packages like our ChocTop and Goose Island Classic Ales variety packs. This is the only line like this in our entire North American brewery network, so I am excited to jump in and help boost production.
Baldwinsville is by far our most unique brewery as it brews and packages almost all of our different beers. While this creates a lot of complexity, it also means we get to sample some of the newest Anheuser-Busch products before they reach retailers. Last week I was able to sample our two newest Rita family additions, Mang-o-Rita and Raz-ber-Rita, Shock Top Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat, Goose Island 312 Pale Ale, and our delicious new apple cider Johnny Appleseed (launching in April)!
I am looking forward to tackling the challenges that face me over the next few months, expanding my AB network, taking road trips to Montreal, Toronto, and Newark to visit Kristina, Darren, and Jenelle, and hopefully some warmer weather!
This is Alec checking in from St. Louie. It’s been a while since I had the opportunity to share my experiences, so buckle up and listen in! Our class of GMT’s had 2 months together in St. Louis from December until the middle of January. Even our neighbors from the Great White North (Canadians) were able to fly in to join us. We interacted with people in every department from all across the board to gain a deeper understanding of everything that goes on here at the North American headquarters.
Now is the time of the program when we have all begun our long-term projects. There are 7 of us GMT’s holding down home base here in St. Louis, while the other 8 have been scattered across the US working in both breweries and regional sales offices. It was sad to see everyone go, but great to start working on a new team in our first extended role. Between this newproject and our other GMT responsibilities, it’s bound to be an exciting and fast paced couple of months. I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone progresses.
On a personal note, I’m really looking forward to the Super Bowl this Sunday (Come’on Peyton!), both for the game and for our commercials. I’m hoping the rest of the country enjoys the new ad’s as much as I do. Spoilers: One involves a very, very large horse.
Hey everyone! It’s Ashley thawing out in the arctic tundra of St. Louis. After three weeks of zone training, it’s finally time to start working on my spring project. But before that, here’s some highlights of what we did in case you missed us:
During our training, we got the chance to hear from all the different departments in St. Louis from Logistics to Corporate Communications. The Marketing team’s “Nattyism” campaign showcased the hundreds of potential uses of the word “Natty” in everyday life. Avoid a “Natastrophe” and buy a pack of Natural Light today!
During a weekend trip to Chicago, we braved the winter storm to visit the Goose Island brewery. Our tour included tastings of the Bourbon County Stout and a special release named Run the Jewels made only for the Pitchfork Music Festival. We also got a glimpse of the bourbon barrels used to age the vintage brews and the 312 city bike used to promote the most popular Goose Island brand.
Goose Island 312 Bike. Sweet ride, bro.
Enjoying our last night in STL!
With my first day on the job finished, I’m already learning a lot about our company’s promotion optimization initiatives and what better way to learn than to spend time in the market? While I couldn’t quite escape the cold, I did get a chance to explore Des Moines, Iowa with the help of a local wholesaler. Now, armed with my new research, I’m ready to hit the ground running back in St. Louis!
The rotations have ended, but the learning continues. The GMTs have started their travels to the location they’ll call home for the next four months.
Some are excited to escape the Polar Vortex in the sunny states, while others are embracing it by snowboarding on the frosty mountain tops of Canada. A group will remain in St. Louis to apply themselves working alongside our corporate and brewery groups. Those in the Northeast are excited to be near the Super Bowl hub bub that has started to stir. All in all, we appreciate all the project leads at our respective locations giving us their time and assistance as we apply all that we have learned over the past six months.
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