9/11 Commercial

We aired this commercial once during the 2002 Superbowl and it wasn’t until during the football games on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was it aired again. Here it is for those of you who have never seen it. Titled “We’ll Never Forget”

Hope you’re doing well chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I

 

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GMT videos

I thought it was my duty to post these. Plus I make a few visual cameos, back when I had some nice flow and in the process of growing a beard for our Grow One Save A Million company competition to save H2O.

What do you think? Who wants to join?

Until next time Chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I

P.S. check out the 2011 GMT Blogs @ http://lagerbloggers.tumblr.com/

If a Blogger Blogs in the middle of the Rockies… Can anyone hear him?

When I arrived in Fort Collins on Super Bowl Sunday, I did not know what to expect. I had never been to Colorado before, it was the first time I would be living alone in my life, and I knew very little about brewing beer which is supposed to be a science and an art (my two worst subjects… I am more of a P.E. and Lunch guy). It turns out the people in Colorado (while most everyone isn’t from Colorado) are extremely nice and know a lot about brewing beer.

These are Budweisers from Canada. The logos of the NHL teams I think should be on Budweisers in the U.S. too

Fort Collins is a city/town of about 150,000 people that reminds me a lot of my old stomping ground, State College, PA with Colorado State University located in town. There is a College Ave which is the happening place with tons of bars and shops and mountains in the background. The only difference is State College doesn’t have a 10 million barrel AB brewery in it (other wise I probably never would have left).

This is the Brewery team doing some tree planting. "Good work Ryan, keep it up, couple more and we are done"

At work I have been learning the brewing process and working on my extract loss project (extract loss = making sure we use as much of the raw materials that we buy, as possible, so that we do not waste any). There are some difficult parts of the job though. Everyday at 3pm a group of the brewing department joins the Brewmaster in the Brewmaster’s taste room to taste the beers that we have been making for the last 24 hours (I try to make it as much as possible which usually equals 3 times a week). This is a very difficult job, seriously. It takes years of training to be able to pick up the off notes in the beer at different steps in the process and be able to pin-point what went wrong where. I have been trying to learn as much as I can when our Brewmaster holds court and we sit around talking about what every one is getting from the different beers. Also, on Friday’s the area manager on shift for the weekend has to go over to the Tour Center we have on campus and taste the 12 beers they have on tap there and all their bottle beers to make sure that we are properly storing and serving the free beers that are given on to the tourists (I try to join them as much as possible to help them with the load).

A picture of behind the scenes at the Tour Center

 

I was able to test the knowledge that I had learned about a month into my time here, when a group of 85 Wyoming Air National Guard members came on a Saturday afternoon for a special tour and tasting. I had my own group of 15 poor souls who received an extra long tour (I was a half hour over the scheduled time… I am not long-winded am I?). Hopefully they don’t take what I learned them and try to brew their own beer, which might not turn out so well. I was also able to give my first visitor to Colorado, my friend Yaz, a tour while he was here. He also got to sit in on a Taste session with the Brewmaster and other brewing management where we showed him how to taste and what we do everyday. (Side note – as of right now the best Budweiser in the world comes out of Fort Collins, we hold the Brewmaster’s Cup right now… hopefully the addition of Sweet Lou here didn’t mess things up, but we will find out at the end of June though)

This is a Challenge Coin that the Air National Guard gave us for the tours that we gave them. Wicked

Another cool thing that I was able to do when I first got here was to brew my own beer on our Pilot Brewing system. Mr. Walker and I (he did most of the work since he knew what was going on, I just took pictures with my iphone) made 10 gallons of Copper Head Joe’s Pale Ale. It was not that bad, but I don’t think I am going into business for myself just yet.

Yaz and I hang timing with Jake

I have also been playing a lot of golf since I have been here, probably around 25 rounds so far. I was playing with another manager from the brewing department my second week here, in February (that I could get used to, golf all year round). I am also 2-1 as a substitute in the day shift golf league. I am preparing so that when I go back to Saint Louis I can take all of ABux and Nancy’s $$$.

Team "Don't worry, We're here to help". My team for the Grow One Save a Million Company competition for World Environment Day on June 5

Next up for Sweet Lou is back to Saint Louis for a wrap up of the last 10 months and graduation. I am excited to get to see all of the other GMTs one last time before us all head in our different directions for our first jobs. Oh yea, my first job is going to be as a Group Manager in Brewing back here in the Fort (Fort Collins, CO that is… I still haven’t found this fort, but I am taking their word for it). So after graduation I will be heading back to the right coast and grabbing the few belongings I have, to bring back to Colorado.

So thank you for listening to Happy Hour with Sweet Lou. I haven’t decided if I am going to keep this bad boy going or not, but in the words of Journey “Don’t stop Drinking” that is what they said right?

Talk to you soon chuckleheads,
SL I

Kick Started by @JDWhittington, @WSJ, @MaximMag & #Klout

I know I have been slacking lately and writing a new blog has been on my To Do list for a month and a half. But with a push from different social networks, from a few different directions, I have gotten back into the game (we will see how long it lasts).

So you are probably thinking to yourself… “Self, what is Sweet Lou talking about with his dumb title to this most recent post? He must not have enough stuff to do at work. Why doesn’t he just put up some cool pictures and leave the writing to the people who know how to spell?” And my answer to this would be… I’ve got nothing. But I do have some interesting things to talk about (to me at least). And since the  2011 GMT class is already picked, I didn’t think anyone would mind if I strayed…

So… the title. Well @JDWhittington is a co-GMT/Blogger/Tweeter (you can follow me @stevethu) / Yammerer/ FacebookDotComer (He is doing his four-month GMT project on social networking), @WSJ is the Wall Street Journal who wrote an article last week about social networking and how companies are using social networks to identify people who have large “reach” as “influencers”, giving them free stuff so that they will talk about their awesome experiences/goods, #Klout is a company called Klout who scores people based on their social networking “reach” and  @MaximMag is Maxim Magazine who recently I recently won a contest with “Maxim’s Big Game Party Sweepstakes” (they must think I am an influencer).

So it got  me thinking… Am I an influencer? Or do I just have really good taste and blue eyes??? Or maybe it is just that I am lucky? I mean one guy (who won’t be named) steals my name, then my Celebration, and then makes his own commercial after mine…

Maybe Maxim was right. All the social networking got me to thinking… maybe I should see a movie called The Social Network, and see what Mark Zuckerberg was thinking. So I went to WalMart’s Red Box and pulled out my smart phone and searched on the inter-web for promo codes (because come on, there is no way I am paying $1 for a movie all about something that is free), and I sat down and watched it (not bad). It made me think about doing some other kind of social networking (Yammer), so I then hopped on my laptop and sent out a Yammer video to all of my colleagues (which I may or may not have been told to take down).

So the point here is… That company’s are looking for “Influencers” who are going to be, in a sense, free marketers for them though their “reach”, and we all know the most influential type of marketing is word of mouth. They want just enough to get their product to its “Tipping Point” and then their job is done.  

How does one become an influencer? Technology. Social networking. The Inter-web. Well at least until the next fad comes around…

Check out this month’s Forbes magazine for more on the next Facebook dot com  .

Until next time Chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I

The End of the Beginning… Kind of

First 5 months of training… check. Three locations, 10 flights, 9 sporting events, 6 states, 5 rental cars, 3 cell phones, a couple of nights of karaoke and 1 turkey dinner later… I am back in Connecticut to celebrate the Holidays.

Atlanta

Our field commercial training started in Atlanta on the 15th of November and it started with a bang going to the Georgia State Communication Meeting, where all the wholesalers in the state of Georgia came into Atlanta.  We discussed our plans for 2011 and answered any questions that the independent wholesalers had for us. As soon as the meeting was over, we were on a plane to Tampa, Florida (which was awesome because it was 85 degrees there) to hold the Florida State Communication Meeting with all the Florida wholesalers. This meeting was held at the A-B wholesaler in Tampa, Pepin Distributing, this place is a palace. Here are some pictures from it.

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I wouldn’t mind working in Tampa with Mr. Pepin and his team. After Florida, it was back to Atlanta to ride with some district managers and key account managers. We were also able to go to Wal-Mart University (a class that we teach for the distributors to show them how to sell to Wal-Mart’s and their store managers) down in Columbus, Georgia (not Columbus, Ohio). We were able to see what the execution on premise at a NBA basketball game takes when we went to the Atlanta Hawks v. Boston Celtics game and I was able to see my first NBA game (with a little bit of luck my last as well).

Hawks v. Celtics

After a couple of weeks in the Region 3 Sales Office (Southeast Region – GA, AL, MS, FL) we were able to take a few days off and go home for Thanksgiving. That was my first time back in CT since we started in July and it was great to see family and friends, especially my mom and brother (big ABI supporters).

After Thanksgiving was over it was off to our WOD (Wholesale Operations Division… the wholesalers that ABI owns) training. Since there is no WOD in Atlanta, Riley, Nancy and I were able to experience two of the craziest beer markets in the country, New York City and Metro New Jersey (Jersey City & Newark). We worked at the branch distributors that ABI owns in each area. We were able to live in Manhattan (I like to say we were living in Harlem but everyone would correct me and say that we lived in the Upper East Side… ok maybe Spanish Harlem) for the last month or so while working in these two places.

NYC Branch

We had some great bosses there in Ed, Bobby and Dennis; they made sure we were busy all the time. Looking back on all the different areas of the distributor that we touched, it is crazy to think that we were able to do it in such a small amount of time. We were able to go around with sales reps on their daily routes calling on their accounts, from a deli/Bodega rep, chain pharmacy/grocery rep, and an on-premise/bar rep. Seeing the different channels which beer is sold through in NYC and how the pricing, customer base and products differ so much between the channels. Seeing how one store uses their beer sales as a loss leader to get traffic into their stores, while others markup their beer sometimes to around 100%, where a store on 3rd Ave could have 18 packs for $22.99 and two avenues over on 1st Ave could have the same 18 packs for $12.99.

One of the coolest parts about being in NYC was being able to go over to NJ for three days and seeing how different the markets are even though they are less than 3 miles apart, with Bud light being the largest selling beer in NYC while Bud Ice 24oz cans are the highest volume SKU in Metro NJ. Also in NJ, we were able to go see the bars in Hoboken, NJ which is the home of some bake shop called Carla or Carlos’s Bakery that Nancy wanted to go see, some TV show is filmed there or something, who knows. All I know is that they made Eli Manning’s birthday cake and their cookies aren’t even that good.

Bake Shop

We also were able to see a WEA (Wholesaler Equity Agreement – making sure the wholesaler is playing by our rules) assessment & business review at the NJ WOD. It was funny to hear them go through every account one by one seeing what new import brands could be placed in them, turns out Stella Artois doesn’t sell well in accounts that have bullet proof glass between the customer and cashier (even though the software we paid for told us that it should be there).

Back in NY, we were able to do even more than see many days in the lives of ABI sales reps. We were able to sit in on a sales meeting where the people from Monster came in to talk to our sales reps about their incentives and priorities for their brands were going into the new year. We were able to work a night in the operations department and pick orders and load trucks for deliveries for the next day (took me back to my days at TFI slinging boxes, instead of bags of flour it was now kegs of beer and a lot lets SKUs). We were also able to go around with a delivery truck one day delivering to bars down on the lower east side (a few that we were able to frequent, frequently), which was wild seeing how tough it is to take two/three kegs at a time down 15 stairs on a hand truck and also seeing at how many kegs some bars get delivered in a week (we delivered 28 kegs to one bar, a day after they received 25 the day before — some thirsty people in Manhattan).

Lots of kegs at the Pour House

One thing that is different in NY that is only present in one other place in the U.S. (I believe, don’t quote me on it) is the fourth tier system where they have liquor licenses that are for both wholesale and retail (PA is the only other place). We all went around with these “Home Distributor” reps for a day and I was able to see what had to be one of our largest retail accounts in the country (they do $60 Million in revenue a year… and they only accept one form of payment… Straight Cash Homie!), Flair Beverage. I was able to go out to lunch with the sales rep I was with Isidro and the owner of Flair, Mr. Paul Gagliardi (nice guy). We talked business and he had a lot to teach me being that he has been in the business for something like 30 years.

Inside Flair Beverage

Another fun day that I had been the day that I went around with the sales supervisor for the South Bronx, Tony. After we were done collecting some overdue A/R from a deli/Bodega, a man on the other side of the street asked me what I was doing in the hood? And the sales guys I was with told him that I was doing research. That was the funniest encounter I had on the mean streets.

The most tiresome day I had in NY was my day working with one of the “pack-out” guys, Raffy, going around to chain stores (mostly pharmacy’s and grocery store) stocking the shelves and putting away deliveries. It is wild how much we service these chain stores. From what I gather, the only other companies besides beer companies that service the stores they sell to are Coke, Pepsi and Frito Lay.

One of best-selling beers in NYC is Stella Artois and we put a lot of money behind it there. While we were there we went out one day/into the night going to a number of bars teaching the bar tenders how to do the Stella 9 step pouring ritual, making sure they were using the correct glassware. It was fun seeing the push back from mostly Irish stubborn bartenders. We were also able to go to the movie premiere for “All Good Things” a movie with Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling, because we were sponsoring the after party with Stella (we didn’t fit in too well with all the posh movie people and it was weird seeing Kirsten Dunst naked on the movie screen knowing she was 6 rows behind us).

Stella Ad in NY

The last thing I did in New York was going on a buyer call with the head chain rep at the distributor and the region AB sales manager, at a grocery store chain that is mainly in NYC, Gristedes. This was cool considering we did the whole sales call with three buyers for Gristedes while the owner was in the room the whole time messing around on his computer. Apparently Mr. John Catsimatidis is kind of a big deal since only 615 people in the world have more cash than him.

After our time in New York was over, I was able to go back to CT for Christmas and see the family and I was also able to go to Pittsburgh for New Years and visit my girl friend and all of my college teammates. After making it through New Year’s Eve, we were able to make it to the Winter Classic on the 1st of the year to watch the Caps beat the Pens 3-1.

C-A-P-S Caps Caps Caps

Now vacation is over and it is back to the grind in Atlanta. Check out the photo gallery for more NYC pictures. Talk to you soon Chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I

You can No longer Find Me in Saint Louie

As the title of this blog states, my time in Saint Louis has quickly come to a close and I am now once again in Hot-Lanta, home of the peach and the chicken sandwich. It is time to start the field Sales & Marketing training down here in Region 3. First though, let me recap the last two weeks in Sweet Saint Louie, home of the Great American Lager and the Billikin.

 

It started with the awesomeness of being able to meet with the Board…

All the GMTs, Board of Directors, some ManCom members and the four new MBA hires

I have proof that I really did meet the big dogs. That is a pretty wicked sweet picture. The Eagle, Flags, and most of all the Bad Asses underneath them. I choose to wear yellow because of a piece of advice I received from my friend Chris when we were in middle school (he taught me how to play baseball and Basketball). He told me that when ever I go to a tryout and they tell me to wear a certain color, to wear the exact opposite. His philosophy was that  the evaluators would watch you more than others just because their eyes keep focusing on your non-homogenous color. Since getting people’s attention is half the battle, I took his advice from that day on and it has worked for me since (he was a Gold Glove winner in College so I guess it is working for both of us).

The next two weeks were filled with Trade Marketing, Wholesaler Development, Sports & Entertainment Marketing (didn’t seem like too bad of a gig), National Retail Sales and Space Management. All of these things I like to think of as psychology, trying to figure out what the consumer wants and giving it to them without them knowing that we are there. 

There were some cool parts to all of this learning. On the Wednesday before Veterans Day, we went into the market (about an hour outside of Saint Louis) and visited retail accounts with a Sales Rep from the area’s wholesaler and a Trade Marketing person from ABI. I was lucky enough to go around with the VP of sales @ Krey Distributing who taught Amanda, Andrew and I a ton about how to sell off-premise (where you cannot consumer the beer you bought) and on-premise (where you can drink you beer where you bought it).

The other cool thing that we did on our last day was we visited GROUP360, one of the Ad Agency’s that we employ to do some of the creative work for our brands. We went to their office in downtown Saint Louis and met with their creative folks as they showed us how they support the “mother ship“. They were having a chilli cook-off while we were there and they let us sample it too. It was a totally different atmosphere there. They had dogs bombing around and their dress code was even more lax than ours. They were building a new office space in the building next door and they put in a pool on the roof of the building…

The Pool on the top of Group360's office

Inside on the roof-top lounge @ Group360

Outside of work a bunch of us were able to go to the Saint Louis regional finals for Band of Buds (The winner won a trip to Vegas and a chance to compete for $100K). It was cool seeing Budweiser plastered all over the bar (free beers too… A common trend I have been seeing).

The Guys @ Band of Buds (Sweet shirt ABux... Europe called they want it back)

While living on the Mississippi, I was also able to hang out with the Big Guy, my mentor James. He took Riley, Christina and I to a couple of Blues games and he took Abux and I golfing to celebrate Veterans Day (it was 78 degrees, awesome day). I guess I like this Job???

@ the Blues game... What do you want, complimentary everything?

Well I had better get some rest as tomorrow we start our Field Commercial Training in Atlanta and have to fly to Tampa tomorrow night for some meetings Tuesday. I quote a wise man, Lloyd Christmas, “Some people just weren’t cut out for life on the road”, HA, I think I will manage. Talk to you soon Chuckleheads.
 
Cheers,
SL I
 

Cool Spread @ the office

Great tap spread at the Chase Park Plaza (where I lay my head in STL)

Supply Wrap Up

As the saying goes “Time flies when your making Beer”. This was true for me and the 9 weeks in Atlanta/Cartersville, GA. I learned more about how to make and package beer than I thought I would ever know (even how to taste beer). Thanks to Rob Haas and his team in Cartersville who did an awesome job teaching and hosting Nancy, Riley  and I.

The three of us were able to learn everything from how to brew beer, to how to create steam in the powerhouse that cooks the beer. One of the highlights for me was working on a project that was given to my by my packaging managers, surrounding the glue that we put on certain packages. I was able to run tests and follow some of the test beer all the way to the wholesalers in Fletcher, NC and Greenville, SC. I was able to meet some of the owners of the wholesalers and get an in-depth look into their operations.

My visit to Greenville, SC

In the end, on my last day in Cartersville I presented to the Senior Management Team of the Brewery. I showed them the results of the tests that I ran and gave them my opinion on what should be done to correct the problems we were having. When I read my emails the next day (from Saint Louis) I found out that they implemented my recommendations and it is planned to save Cartersville $30,000.00 annually.

Another thing that happened on our last day at the Brewery (which I think was even cooler than them using my idea) was, we made the World Series Champion Aluminum Budweiser bottles.

World Champ Bottles that we made in Cartersville

 I thought it was pretty cool that I helped make the Budweiser that Tim Lincecum celebrated with in the locker room after he won the World Series. (We also made Rangers bottles but I can’t show you what they looked like as that could end my career).

Some other highlights of my first stint in Georgia included the last weekend when Nancy was able to get our Assistant Brewmaster Sean, Logistics Manager Rich, her and I out on TPC Sugarloaf to whack it around a little. (Below) It was pretty cool to play a course that Tiger Woods has the record low score at (I did not come too close to it, couple more rounds and I will be there).

L to R... Rich, Nancy, Sean, Sweet Lou

Since Veterans Day just passed, I would like to thank my friends and family in the Armed Forces (Kevin Dewey & Eric Olsson) with this Budweiser tribute below…

Budweiser Family of Beers for the Veterans

All said, I had a great time working in Cartersville, helping make the Great American Lager for all to enjoy (I dare you to try to enjoy more of it than I do). Next up is off to St. Louis to meet the Board of Directors (my blogs are a little out-of-order, but you are smart enough to figure it out) and start our Sales & Marketing training. Congrats to Joe Pa on #400 and Thanks again to the staff at Cartersville (my roots at ABI are forever in GA). Talk to you soon Chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I