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Beer Tastings

I’ve arrived in Fort Collins and just finished my first week in the brewery working in the utilities department. In my last post I mentioned I would talk about the beer tastings I’ve done so as promised I’ll describe what we did and how it really helped put some of our beers into perspective. I’ve done probably 5+ beer tastings so far and each one focused on something different. Some were centered on how to pair beer with food, another was about understanding all the different styles (tasted probably 20+ styles), and the others were focused on developing your sense of taste to rate beers and pick out imperfections. I’ll focus on the beer styles and quality tastings, but I thought it would be cool just to post a list of some of the food recipes and beer pairings with our brands.

1. Pasta boiled in Budweiser (instead of water) with marinara

2. Vinaigrette dressing made with Shock Top

3. Stella Artois paired with stuffed green olive wrapped in bacon

4. Gorgonzola cheese made with our Wild Blue Blueberry Lager

I stole this picture from my roommate's facebook since I didn't have a picture myself. This is a test to see if he's been keeping up with my blog.

I’d also like to talk about the beer styles tasting since it really put Budweiser in perspective for me. I come from an area that is extremely partial to microbrews and crafts. While I have the upmost respect for micro/craft brewers, I cannot respect people who believe that somehow large brewing companies who have been around for over 150 years do not know how to brew quality beer (AKA Beer Snobs). Go to beeradvocate.com and check out the review of Budweiser to see what I’m talking about.

It may surprise some people but Budweiser is actually a very high quality beer that I believe the American public has begun to take for granted. All of the ingredients (barley, hops, rice, yeast, water) are as high in quality if not more so than any microbrewery out there. It is in all honesty one of the best examples of an American Lager-Style beer in the world. You often hear people make comparisons and say things like Guinness or “insert random way too long brand name here” IPA is better than Budweiser. What I’ve learned from the beer styles tastings is this is like trying to compare apples to oranges. These are completely different beer styles so it is impossible to compare them and say which one is best. If you’re into beers that have so many hops in them that they are too bitter to even drink more than one glass then of course you will not like Budweiser and will complain its “watered down”. That doesn’t mean Budweiser is a bad beer or that people who drink it don’t know good beer. The American Lager style is made to be refreshing and is actually one of the hardest beers to make since its very difficult to cover up any of your mistakes. Most of those hoppy microbrews are actually much easier to make because the bitterness of the beer covers up all the mistakes the brewer made in the process. Jim Koch, the founder of Sam Adams, stated that Budweiser is the hardest beer in the world to brew (he doesn’t say this publicly).

The problem with Budweiser sales falling over the past 20 years is not that its a bad beer, its public perception. A surprising statistic is that even though everyone knows the brand, 40% of 21-30 year olds have not tried it. The key is to get these people to begin trying Budweiser with an open mind. I’ve seen screenings of commercials and previews of a new ad campaign for the brand that will begin sometime in the future that I think is very promising. So if you are one of those 40% I dare you to buy a Budweiser and tell me what you think keeping in mind its American Lager-styled beer. For those who have tried Budweiser, but either don’t like it or don’t buy it very often, I encourage you to comment on this post and describe why because I’m very interested in what you have to say.

I guess I kind of went on a rant with this post, but next time I’ll provide more details on the GMT program and why I think its no joke one of the best opportunities a recent college grad could get. If you found my blog from the Buschjobs site and are interested in applying to the company this year, feel free to send me an email if you have any questions. I’ll be visiting Purdue for recruiting next week.

tyler(dot)ives(at)anheuser-busch(dot)com

*insert symbols where I put the words in parentheses.

Beer People Fun

Its been a few weeks since my first post and in that time I’ve had a lot of experiences to blog about, but I’ll try to narrow it down to only a few. Second week of work we had our Global Induction where we had trainees like myself from all over the world come to St. Louis to get to know each other. We had people from China, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Belgium, Germany, France, Argentina, Paraguay, and of course the US. Unlike the US, many of these countries have been running the GMTP program for years. I found out this year Latin America North had ~66,000 applicants for 24 positions. For those of you reading my blog because you are interested in applying for the GMTP program this year, I would take advantage of how young our US program is because in a few more years it could be as competitive as it is now in Brazil. For a lot of the trainees, this was their first time in the US and while it was interesting observing the cultural differences, I was equally amazed at all the similarities. Most of the week was spent meeting and listening to all the senior executives in the company talk about their philosophies, career advice, and roles in the company. However, in the evenings we were split into groups of 10 and were tasked with coming up with a marketing plan to make Budweiser a global brand similar to what Coke has done in the soft drink business. I was the only American in my group and my other teammates were from countries all over the world. I found our brainstorming sessions very interesting since many ideas that were thrown out that would have worked in one country would not work in another (why making a global brand is so difficult) and the only way to have known that is to have a internationally diverse team. For example, some of the Chinese trainees wanted to work around karaoke. Given its popularity in China, that might have been successful, however, one of the Belgian trainees and I advised against it since we felt it would not fly in the US. I’d be lying, however, if I said there were no conflicts over the course of our late night meetings. The combination of long working days and cultural differences led to quite a few disagreements and I did my best to moderate the meetings. I still think this was a great opportunity to practice working with international co-workers since its very likely I will be working or possibly living in other countries as I continue my career in what is becoming an increasingly globalized beer market. At the end of the long week I was and still am very proud of our marketing proposal. In my next post I’ll talk about one of the best things I think anyone could do for work….beer tasting.

First Blog Post of My Life

I never thought I’d be one to blog, but here it goes. I’ll be spending the next 10 months rotating around to different parts of the country trying to learn as much as I can about the beer industry and many of the things they never teach you in college. This blog is designed to give prospective applicants an idea of what goes on in the GMT program (This is the first year of the program in the US) and let friends and family know what I’m up to. This is the 4th day so far that I’ve started working with AB and its by far exceeding my expectations. Yesterday we went to Chicago to meet with some management¬†consultants to discuss what the next technology trends are in the beer industry. Some of them seemed promising but others I couldn’t really see catching on. Social media was a big topic, and I’ve taken on a project to propose a new way for the company to further utilize social media to market beer. This will be tough since I don’t feel like I’ve seen any companies that have very successfully used social media. I think the key is to be very creative yet simple and relavent to people’s lives. Hopefully we’ll be able to come up with some great ideas and if it is successful see it implemented. I can tell they will be pushing us out of our comfort zones on a daily basis. As an engineer I’ve never had any experience in marketing or sales.¬†I’m not going to lie, I am nervous about it but I think it will be very useful. Thats it for now, hopefully I’ll have time for another post in the next few weeks.

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