As a general note, if you haven’t already, a good place to start are my older posts (scroll down) which don’t all appear on the blogroll to the side, they’re funnier
To make this easier for you, my 4 loyal readers, I will provide a handy “Table O’ Contents” to which one should refer in order to navigate this post more efficiently. It will not be organized in any logical order whatsoever, but more reminiscent of a stream of consciousness, with roman numerals thrown in providing some guise of structure.
I. FoCo (Fort Fun)
- Relatively Unrelated
III. Looking Forward
I. FoCo (Fort Fun)
So working at a brewery is incredible. Sure, the days can start early, and end late, but at least when those days do feel more like nights, there’s a nice bright reminder that you’re working for the best beer company in the world. Ok, cheesy, but a bit inspiring in person.
The first few days in FoCo were busy and informative. We went through the brewery tour, which would impress anyone who is as OCD-ishly obsessed with efficiency as myself. Since the brewery is so new, every piece of machinery is placed precisely in a way that the process is streamlined and product flows from raw materials to the warehouse in the most systematic and economical possible manner. I love it. I’m also a nerd.
My fellow trainees and I also got the chance to go through a condensed taste training, only not just beer this time. We refined our taste buds and olfactory bulbs in an attempt to isolate different characteristics of taste and smell in certain food products. We tasted the difference between Skippy and Wal-Mart peanut butter (legit), and guessed the flavors of Brach’s Spice Drops which I strongly suggest you add to your things to do before kicking the “Bucket List”, right after watching all three Lord of the Rings movies back to back marathon style.
Here’s a nice representation of a typical 3:30 PM for anyone who decides to participate in the official tasting for the day. My manager (who used to work in brewing) likes to frequent the quality control taste panel we conduct every afternoon and invited me along. Looks like fun, and it is, but it’s also work. During each session, employees who are certified to do so taste beer throughout the brewing process to ensure its quality and consistency. Different brands, different temperatures, every variable you can think of. Again, I love it. Again, huge nerd.
But alas, orientation ends, and real(ish) work began in my department (Warehouse/Logistics). My first few weeks have been almost non-stop action. Information overload at it’s most extreme, but absolutely the way I like it. So far it’s been the perfect mix of directed training with my peer mentor (a group manager in the Warehouse), and project work assigned by the warehouse Area Manager, and the overall business operations manager for the brewery.
From the first week, they’ve explained some of the challenges and opportunities we are facing in this department, and let me dive right into some projects. It’s been incredible how much responsibility and autonomy I’ve been afforded from the very beginning (designed and ran my own experiment testing the accuracy of our scales during my second week here), and how much I’ve already learned from my own independent project work (delivered a report on truck traffic coming in and out of the brewery to management). There is so much data out there, which can at times be information heaven, and other times be hell on analyst earth, but has really opened my eyes to how to work out problems in the real world. Also helps when at the end of your second week, you get to drive home with these babies.
Last week I had the opportunity to get out of the brewery for a day for the annual Anheuser-Busch-wide “day in the trade” in which managers in supply get the chance to ride with employees in the commercial functions, and witness first hand how their precious product is sold to consumers. For some people at our breweries around the country, this is a unique chance to interface with retail accounts, but for the GMT’s, this was a great preview of some of the work we will be doing when we segway into our commercial rotations in about two months.
I’m pleased to report, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I rode with a sales manager out of our Denver distributorship as we delivered some promotional products (including some perks for the owners of our all-star accounts in the form of Broncos tickets), signs for their promotions, and had great interaction for the people who represent our brands at on-premise accounts (where you buy AND drink the beer). By far our most interesting stop had to be at the Clear Channel studio, which houses dozens of radio stations broadcasting out of Denver. We were given a quasi tour, in which we met all the morning personalities (including KBPI‘s “Willie B”), saw the recording studio (apparently a day after Jack Johnson had rolled through), and toured the “Bud Light Lounge” which we were actually there to refill its keg (yes, in the studio) and adorn its stripper pole (yes, same place) with Bud Light branding. All in all, a pretty crazy place, and a fun and non-stop day which really peaked my excitement for my commercial rotation.
As all four thousand loyal subscribers to my blog realize, I was asked to return to my alma mater to speak to the Fighting Quakers (really) of the University of Pennsylvania about this job. I replied by forwarding my blog to my fraternity list serve and considered it a job well done, but our talent recruitment department had other ideas. So I flew back to the city of “Brotherly Love”, Cheesesteaks, former dog fighters/convicted felons/quarterbacks, “Always Sunny” weather, food trucks, “Fresh Princes”, world series wins resulting in flipped police car riots, and Ivy League University (singular), to visit the latter, and a few of the former. But first, an unrelated rant about a different kind of recruiting.
I am an admittedly ashamed Notre Dame football fan. A famous politically incorrect quote a few years back referenced ND not being able to recruit a certain type of athlete. That quote was misguided and simply false. We can’t recruit ANY type of athlete. The high academic standards of the University (sorry Tebow, even mom couldn’t give you enough A’s to get in here with your sub 1000 SAT), the archaic student life guidelines (parietals?), and the school’s location of South Bend (ironic misnomer, “South” being a relative term, which Father Edward Sorin apparently traveled to over the one nice August afternoon while deciding to found a University in that area) are among some of the limits to entry to getting the athletes ND needs to compete on the gridiron. We are doomed to a fate of mediocrity and disappointment, until the program finally gives in to the cries of the media to join a conference, the Ivy League, only to be perpetually shut out by the Philly Mafia, Penn.
Ok, maybe I don’t exactly feel this way, just incredibly disenchanted by lackluster efforts and results against BOTH teams from Michigan. I’ll still be an ND fan until death do me and football part, even if I eventually revert to watching old films from those teams from ’76-’79 to watch some real talent sport the blue and gold.
On a lighter note, recruiting for ABI seems much better off. Planning on landing some 5 stars from Penn. We had an incredible turnout at both of the career fairs, and at the info session where I presented on the GMTP position. We have had an incredible outpouring of interest from all the Universities we recruit at for this position around the country, and Penn was no different. I still welcome any and all questions (jd.whittington4@gmail) and would be glad to talk at length about anything, including rant about college football, recount dumb movie quotes, or talk beer. Also, be sure to submit those applications by Monday!
3. Relatively Unrelated
I also like to think my recruiting effort extended beyond the walls of the Inn at Penn and our formal presentations. Forewarning to the Philly wholesaler, the weekend’s bump in Budweiser sales may not have been completely organic. What a wonderful candid shot of a “Band of Buds“. Shameless promotion.
III. Looking Forward
So far, I’ve really enjoyed my supply rotation. Next week I’ll be working with my peer mentor on afternoon shifts, gaining a deeper appreciation of the day-to-day and minute-by-minute operations of the warehouse. Looking forward to seeing how off-shifts function (and sleeping in a bit).
For now, I will leave you with this. You’re welcome…