Breakfast with the Big Shots

AmBev BOD, Mancom & GMTs

Last week we had the amazing opportunity to meet with the Ambev Board of Directors (Ambev owns Labatt). We flew into Toronto Tuesday night and got up extremely early for Wednesday morning breakfast. Andrea and I thought it was necessary to awake at 5am…it definitely wasn’t!

The breakfast was more of a professional “speed dating” of sorts. The 7 of us 2010 GMTs were there, as well as several 2006/2007 GMTs. We sat at a table, and the 9 board members rotated between tables, spending 15 mins (to the dot!) chatting with each table. It was pretty neat asking and answering questions from businessmen who are worth billions of dollars, and have helped drive a small Brazilian company into a part of the largest brewer in the world. Also nice to chat with some former GMTs to see the kind of roles they are in today!

After breakfast, we worked from the fancy Queen’s Quay office and then flew back to Edmonton. I have mastered the art of sleeping on a plane and enjoyed the 4 hour long naps to and from Toronto. (Trick: window seat, warm socks, and borrowed layers from fellow travelers…the more the better).

It was such a privilege to meet the Board including Brito, our CEO (he appears to have no first name, just Brito… like Madonna). Since we started in July, Labatt has given us so many opportunities to grow our network and meet people who inspire us. Getting to chat with individuals such as Professor Falconi, creator of our company problem solving methods, and Mr. Gracioso, a part of Ambev since 1946 (formerly Antarctica) is invaluable to  our personal and professional development.

Until next time…

Naples (my apparent new GMT nickname)

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Budweiser Beechwood Chips

“This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age. Our exclusive Beechwood Aging produces a taste, a smoothness and a drinkability you will find in no other beer at any price”

Bud: it’s a pretty special beer. At the Edmonton Brewery, we actually got to try out making some of this great brew! The Beechwood aging process sounds fancy… and it actually is. Chips of beechwood are put into the Bud aging tanks by hand. People shovel the chips into the tank, and spread them around within. They are evenly dispersed throughout the gigantic tank and as the beer ages, yeast settles on these chips. The beer is then moved to another tank and the goopy, yeasty chips are shoveled out again by hand and washed.

In groups of 2-3 GMT’s, we shoveled the chips into the tanks and spread them around. This process required Confined Space Training, huge blue space suits, and rubber boots. It’s amazing how hard the Chippers (people who handle the whole beechwood process) work. I was tired after only a few minutes! And I needed help to push the cart of chips to the tank, as it was too heavy for little me to push hehe.

Check out the slideshow to see evidence of the awesome experience! (I’m working on the upload..I’m a little technically incompetent)

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Life in Oil Country

Howdy Ya’ll! Life in Edmonton is great. The weather has treated us surprisingly nicely. Albertans are very friendly people. AND everyone on the dance floor last weekend did a choreographed square dance. Good times!

Go Oilers Go!

Cardboard helmets

We went to the Oilers vs Flames home opener on was NUTS! We sat in the nosebleed section of the nosebleed section (second last row in the arena) but luckily the Rexall centre isn’t even that big so we could see great! Andrea, my boyfriend Josh, and I went all decked out in Oilers shirts. There were 4 fights and the score was 4-1 Oilers…pretty intense.

mmm Turkey!!

Celebrated thanksgiving this weekend and held a turkey dinner for 8 people. Turkey, cranberries, veggies, the whole 9 yards! Very proud to have actually pulled off my first thanksgiving without Mom (although she was called several times of course).

Sharks at West Ed Mall

It took a few weeks but finally checked out the West Ed Mall. It actually is as big as it’s known to be. Went to the aquarium and saw the shark/turtles/fish being fed.Sharks at West Ed Mall
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Global Be(er) Responsible Day

This week, AB Inbev employees around the world participated in Beer Responsible Day, as part of our Better World Initiative. Rob and I were paired with a sales rep from Montreal and rode along with him promoting our message of drinking responsibly. Our  t-shirts (XL looked pretty good on me..) promoted our YouTube and Facebook bobble head campaign (yes, en français ils sont des minifaces brisées). We spoke to consumers in the stores about drinking responsibly, as well as ask them a few standard questions. I used my best “I’m speaking French with an English accent but please talk to me anyway” face and got a feel for what people thought about it. We had some interesting and passionate consumers for sure!

Mike Paravanni (2nd bobble head from the right): Professional Bobble Head Lookalike and GMT 2010


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Working My Muscles

On the Road

Up at 3:45am last Tuesday to hit the road! We spent the day delivery our scrumptious products to grocery stores, convenience stores and bars. Each of us was teamed up with a Labatt truck driver. My driver, Stéphane, didn’t speak English so it was a great chance to practice my French! We hit the road around 7am and headed 1.5 hours outside of Terrebonne, Quebec. We unloaded the pallets by machine at the grocery stores. However the convenience stores and bars were loaded off the truck by machine and then sometimes done by hand (“handbombing”). I am very proud to say that I moved about 2 pallets myself (288 cases of big deal).  Moving all that beer in the day deserved a cold one after work 🙂

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La belle province du Québec!

How to speak Québecois for Dummys

Man, that accent is tough… those Québécois sure sound different than European French.  I have purchased some reading material to help me along the way here and teach me some new expressions…

Vous semblez comme une grosse brochette: You guys look like a kebab [when we all walk into work single file every morning, like meat on a stick!]

Avoir mal aux cheveux : hungover [direct translation: to have a hairache]

C’est tiguidou, ry trou: peice of cake

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Steel Toes and Lab Coats

First day on the job in Montreal!

Working hard in Salle GMT

We spent this week in the Montreal BREWERY…it was so nice to see concrete examples of everything we have learned in presentations the past 3 weeks! We spent a full day in the brew house, half day in filtration and a few hours in fermentation. It is very interesting to see how beer is made and in such large quantities. For example, there are tanks that hold 1044 pallets of beer. To put this in perspective, that is 87 696 24’s (a “24” is a “case” for you non-Maritime readers), or 2 104 704 BEER BOTTLES!

I have so much respect for Budweiser and the way it is brewed, although the taste is not my favourite of all beer. The process is includes more steps, and is more timely and expensive than any other beer…and therefore is the KING OF BEER. (I still love Keith’s though..I hope the ol’ mayor isn’t spinning in his grave).

Today we got to sit down with Jacques the plant manager and chat to him one-on-one about the week. I have been practicing my French but most people we have met have been bilingual. I’m hoping I get put in Montreal again after Christmas and continue on my quest to master the language (fingers crossed).

We look so smart in our lab coats, steel toed boots, goggles, and no jewelry 🙂

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