HOLY SHIRTS AND PANTS!

Let me cut to the chase… We met the Board of Directors of our company this morning, which deserves another Holy Shirts and Pants (maybe even shoes). What an experience. To meet such smart, rich, powerful people. (Here is a link to their brief bios  if you want to see who they are) The one quality that I saw consistently throughout speaking with all 13 of them was Passion. They all had such a passion and excitement for the company and it was extremely contagious. They talked so much about People and how they love to develop good people; how they know that they need great people to help the company grow to the next levels and that they are always looking for people to fill the ranks was enjoyable to hear and think about.

They are very down to earth people (even though they are worth Billions of dollars) and they were very interested in us and our thoughts (hopefully I didn’t say too many stupid things). Their thoughts on what we expect out of our “careers” was one of the things that I thought was good advice and cool to hear out of the mouths of the people who own the company you work for. Basically what they said is don’t worry about your career, they said all you have to worry about is delivering in your current position and we (we being them and senior mgmt) and your results will talk care of your careers. I think that is pretty sweet, since so many people put all kinds of time into worrying about what they should be doing so far down the road.

This was by far one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. What a group of guys. Peter Harf the Chairman actually studied abroad at Penn State for a year in 1969 (Joe Pa was coaching while we both went there), Paul Cornet was living in Wallingford, CT (my hometown) in 1986 when I was born (we just missed each other!) and Jorge Paulo played in Wimbledon and two Davis Cups. Those are some cool tidbits from the meeting and I am still trying to pull together everything everyone said (I should have recorded it with my Google smart phone).

By the way, I am back in St. Louis (staying at the sweet sweet Chase Park Plaza in the Central West End again). We got here Wednesday night and will be here until November 13th when it is back to Atlanta for a couple of weeks. So that’s all for now, maybe I will try to get some work done today instead of day dreaming about what is to come (take some of the Board’s advice). I hope all of you have a spooky Halloween weekend, don’t drink too much (maybe even be a DD for your friends, Now that’s cool) but make sure to cheer on Joe Pa and the boys tomorrow. Talk to you soon Chuckleheads.

Cheers,
SL I

This is a sign that I drive by everyday when driving to the St. Louis headquarters/brewery

Procrastination

Piers Steel defines procrastination as willingly deferring something even though you expect the delay to make you worse off. (Who is Piers Steel? I have no clue but it sounded good).

So it has been a while since my last blog and as I was reading an article on Procrastination  I decided to stop procrastinating myself and put out another episode of Happy Hour. (here is a quick version of the above article – From One Blogger to Another)

I would like to think that I have been busy with work and learning everything there is to know about a Brewery (which I have been doing), but I have also been having a good time doing other things as well.

See I do work... This is the cube that I set up for myself.

 Last week the two other GMTs in Atlanta with me (Riley & Nancy) and I were taken out by the Assistant Brewmasters from our Brewery to go on an “Ambassador” excursion. What this meant was that we went to a local watering hole (Taco Mac) and tried to be brand ambassadors to the people there by talking to them about our beers, buying them free beers and asking them why they drink the things they do. Overall we got some nice responses from a couple of tables of younger drinkers who said that they did not usually drink brands like Budweiser, but we more than happy to take the free samples we bought them.

This is a view from my cube onto the Can lines

Last week the three of us also received Sensory Training. This is the training of our senses to be able to pick up differences in taste, smell, looks, touch and even sound of beer (sound and touch you ask? Sound would be the sound of you opening a can… the release of CO2 showing that the beer isn’t flat, and touch being the “mouth-feel” of the beer). It was a learning experience trying to identify different aromas such as clove, cinnamon, wintergreen, acetone, mint, etc. It is a lot harder than it sounds. We also tasted the fresh beer attributes in beer such as malty, hoppy, estery, bitter and yeasty, as well as what a punished beer tastes like (punished being oxidized).

This is our Senior Management Team's open area office

This sensory training has helped us well in that we go to the Taste Panel almost every day that we can (Riley is there now). Taste Panel is everyday @ 3pm where the Brewmaster, his Assistants, and other Brewing Managers go to the top floor of the Brewery here where there is a special room call none other than…. The Taste Room. Every Brewery has one, and the Brewing guys here were nice enough to extend the invitation to the three of us to come to Taste Panel when ever and fine tune our taste senses. Last week on Wednesday we did the weekly taste where we tasted Budweiser from all 12 U.S. breweries and rated and ranked them. What happens is you have 12 glasses in front of you and a computer and you have to smell/taste/look at each Bud and write your thoughts on the computer. Then rate (all of our beers must be of our quality standards or we will not sell it) and rank each beer/brewery. Unknowingly Nancy and I both choose Cartersville as the best Budweiser. So basically in the end, I can drink at work most any day I want and then I have to sit around and discuss the beers after (I know I don’t wish this horror on anyone else). Some people say that it might get old “HAVING” to drink everyday, and to them I ask, does it get old for the Yankees to win World Championships?

Here is a line-up from a Taste Panel. Tasting the beers made in the last 24 hours.

One last thing that we have done since my last blog was to go with the Brewmasters to a Beer Pairing dinner that our local wholesaler put together for a radio station who gave it away as a prize to their listeners. The three of us sat among the 25 people at the restaurant and talked beer for a few hours, passing along the knowledge that we have gained over the past 3 months. It was my third or fourth Beer Pairing and the pairing that I still like the best is Shock Top (a Belgium Whit/Wheat Beer) and sweet & spicy calamari.

I know you are probably thinking to yourself, Stephen do you ever stop working and have time to yourself? And the answer to that is … nope, I work 24/7 (whatever you do, don’t just do Nothing). HA! It is more like somehow I found someone to pay me for doing the things that I love to do anyways, so why would I ever stop doing it?

That is all I have for now. Talk to you soon Chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SLI

November Rain

I know it’s not November, but it sure did rain this weekend (and it is a great song with one of my favorite music videos to go along with it ). Video below.

One highlight of the past week was getting to meet a BOP (Director of Brewery Operations) from Russia (Peter) who was here in Cartersville to spend some time with the people here and take back some practices to implement in his breweries in Russia. One interesting thing he did tell us was that 40% of the beers drank in Russia are out of PET (type of plastic) bottles (I assume bottles, hadn’t thought about that till now).

Then, after a week of grinding it out on the packaging lines, Friday rolled around and my bosses told me I did such a great job they gave me the next two days off and said “Come back Monday ready to work, Bub”. Thanks CVB (Cartersville Brewery).

So I took my time on Sunday to go to the TOUR Championship PGA golf tournament in East lake, GA (east of Atlanta about 30 min from my bed). I went with Nancy (one of the other GMTs in Georgia) to the tournament and it rained on us the whole day. I had a great time though because 65% of the people left when it started raining. We followed Paul Casey around for a bit, Watch Bubba Watson crush a few drives, saw Phil wacked it around in the mulch for a while, and had front row seats to see Jim Furyk hit an amazing bunker shot on 18 to save par and win the tournament and the Fed Ex Cup (easy $10 Million).We stood in the bleachers behind the trophy ceremony seeing if we could get on the tube (I did start a USA chant since the Ryder Cup is next weekend, but there were only about 10 people in the stand at that point, I know if Mills and Slim were there we could have made it on TV).

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Other than that I watched the Redskins lose to the Rams on my computer, the second home win in two years for the Rams (I spoke with my mentor James, a season ticket holder, and he said they are having a parade in St. Louis for the win yesterday). Today I am learning about the APL bottle labeler (how the nice looking, plastic like labels on Bud Light, Bud Select and Bud Light Lime) and the old paper labelers. On the schedule for the rest of the week is the same thing I do every week… Try to take over the world!

They don’t make cartoons like they used to… This one was a classic though.

Talk to you soon Chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I

Working in Cartersville, GA

This past week was a busy one. The week started with me training with a front line manager (Courtney) on the Can Lines, for Monday and Tuesday. The position title of the front line manager is Group Manager. The Can Line GM is responsible for all three can lines and between 7-10 Operators and Mechanics. On Tuesday afternoon I was able to receive some Labor Relations training with the all-knowing Paige. Because all of the Breweries in the U.S. are unionized it was very important to understand the processes in place to deal with certain situations that arise. Here in Cartersville, we are the newest of the 12 Breweries and the Operators were hand-picked by the company when it opened in 1993, probably one of the reasons why this Brewery is one of the highest performing in the company.

Special Bottle we ran this past week... This one's for you Riley

Tuesday night I was able to drive into the city and help out with some recruiting of the GMT class of 2011 @ Georgia Tech. It was cool to see all the interest in the program with over 40 students at the information session. On Wednesday, as a company we celebrated Be(er) Responsibility Day. This was a day where employees who are not normally in the Trade (at retail accounts) are able to ride along with wholesaler salesmen and see what is like for a day in their life. I was able to go around with Sean from Eagle Rock Distribution. We were able to stock shelves at a Wal-Mart, hand out 2010 Drivers Licenses guides to all the accounts so that they can properly check IDs and we were also turning a lot of cans and bottles to be front facing. At the end of the day all of the members of the Cartersville Brewery that were out for their ride a longs, met up at a local restaurant/pub for lunch. The owners of the wholesaler choose this place (The City Cellar) because it was a place that we have been struggling to get more taps and beers in. The owner seemed extremely excited to add more ABI products after we brought close to 40 people into his pub.

That was all the excitement for the week and when the week ended my boss Josh took me out for a couple of drinks with his friends and  Saturday my peer mentor from the Brewery (lot of mentors, which is a good thing) took me to Atlanta for dinner and showed me Atlantic Station. I rounded out the weekend with an 84 (only one birdie) on Sunday at Cobblestone Golf Course before I came in to work the midnight shift @ 11pm Sunday. I was able to win a six-pack of Shock Top at the VPO (our name for Lean Manufacturing/TQM/Six Sigma) Conclave… Its always nice when you work at a company where they compensate you for a job well done in Beer. Talk to you soon Chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I

My Winnings

My Mentor

 One of my most prized possessions is something I received from my Dad. It is the smallest book in my collection but it is my favorite. It is “Thoughts of Chairman Buffet: Thirty Years of Unconventional Wisdom from the Sage of Omaha”. Warren Buffet has always been one of my idols ever since I learned who he was in the late 90’s. In this book, which is just a compilation of quotes from Buffett (which is signed by the Sage himself) one of my favorites is about mentors… it reads: 

“The best thing I did was choose the right heroes” 

I used this quote to segway into tell you about my mentor @ ABI, James Villeneuve. He is the VP of Corporate Affairs & Communication in our North American Zone. He has been working for ABI companies for as long as I have been alive! Coming from Canada and the Labatt portion of our company and he is in charge of most of the Better World initiatives that happen in the North American Zone along with government & regulatory affairs, PR, CSR and foundation/donation management. 

The Big Guy... James... Not the greatest picture (hopefully he doesn't get mad at me for it)

 

It is safe to say that I have the best mentor out of the all the NA GMTs. We talk every Friday and email back and forth every couple of days. Whenever I have had a question about the company he answers it or finds out the answer for me and he has helped me to learn the inner workings of such a large company. 

Besides all the internal help James had provided me with, he has also taken me golfing at his country club Sunset Country Club (I shot 86 w/ two birdies) (The story goes… Sunset CC was built by Aldolphus Busch when he was told he wasn’t allowed to join another CC in St. Louis), he has taken me to a Cardinals game and even to a St. Louis Rams game (both teams lost). What a guy! He even took two other GMTs with us to the Cards game. He has also said he is going to come visit Atlanta while I am here and hopefully get to a Thrashers game. 

I am very grateful to have such an awesome mentor. If one day I can be as smart and successful as him, then I know that I will have done a lot. Talk to you soon Chuckleheads. 

Cheers, 

SL I

Leaving St. Louie for Atlanta

(this blog was written a while back)

Leaving Sweet Saint Louie

Holy Shirts and Pants! The first five weeks have flown by so fast. I am actually sitting on the plane right now flying to Atlanta with TagsBudBlog sitting to my right. AirTran is pretty sweet, free satellite radio on board as well as Wi-Fi for a small fee. 90’s on 9 is the best channel ever, makes me feel like I am back at home driving in my Jetta.

Now back to the real Holy Shirt and Pants. On Thursday of this week (8/26), we (all of the GMTs) presented our Innovation projects. We had been working on them for the past five weeks and I know that I was extremely nervous to present our ideas. One of the reasons that I was so nervous was because of the people who attended the presentations. Along with the fourteen of us, there were  another 25 people there. The crowd included the Innovations team (which includes the only other Steve Thurston in the world!), a handful of HR people who have been training us, sales, marketing, logistics people and last but not least… Luiz (the North American Zone President) and a handful of his direct reports including the VP’s of Sales, Marketing, HR, and the President of Anheuser-Busch Dave Peacock. It was intimidating to say the least. Having the first real deliverable of your first job being presented to SUCH senior leaders in our company, the challenge was on to say the least.

So how did we do? From the feedback that we have gotten we did pretty well. We have heard that all of the projects are going to be looked into to see if they can be implemented. Luiz seemed happy with the projects and we haven’t been scolded for them, which is a success in my mind. I have even heard that my roommate Riley’s team project is in the process of being implemented. Hopefully we can keep up the good work at our next assignments. Talk to you soon Chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I

This is a picture of me (taken by my project partner Christina) while we were doing research for our Innovation Project at the Edward Jones Dome (Where the Rams Play)

Alma Mater

Tomorrow (Friday 9/17/10) at 11:35 am est, Penn State will announce a Historic Gift announcement. It will include a huge donation to the soon to be NCAA Ice Hockey program at PSU, somewhere between the amount of 50 to 100 million. The decision will be streamed live on the Big Ten Network website.

In light of this great news I thought I would share with you the most prolific goal in Penn State Hockey History. Enjoy… I think it is the best on the third view.

Now I can’t take all the credit… I have to thank Steve Yzerman for the celebration inspiration and my first grade teacher Mrs. Silva for teaching me how to read. Talk to you soon chuckleheads.

Cheers,

SL I