Written by: Katie Eyre
Wow! What a crazy few weeks it has been and time is flying by. I’m trying not to think about that too much because I’m really enjoying my internship and Fort Collins, Colorado. So what’s it like working for the biggest beer company in the world (1 out of every 2 beers in North America is an A-B product)? Well let me tell you a little bit about my first week here so you can see.
My first few weeks have been full of training, training and more training. Day 1 consisted of learning company policies, history of the organization, a video about the brewing and packaging process (http://www.tv.com/video/10513619/ultimate-factories–budweiser), lunch with our Assistant People Manger and some beer tasting. Yes I said beer tasting! Every day at 3 p.m. members of the brewing department gather in the 5th floor tasting room. It is a beautiful bar with windows that look out to the mountains. I walk in and suddenly bottles and cans are being strategically placed around the room, glasses are being unloaded out of 4 dishwashers and placed in twos in front of the samples. Then beer is poured into all the glasses and the tasters are asked to go around the room and taste the sample they are responsible for. They start with the least complex in flavor and moving to most complex. First they taste a sample of all of the water that goes in to the process. This is to ensure that the water is adding absolutely no taste to the beer. They also taste beer at different stages of the fermentation process and again once it has been bottled or canned (both warm and cold beer) to check for abnormalities. Additionally, samples of hops, malt, barley and corn are brought in to ensure they are up to par before they are used in the process. Once they were done the Senior Brewmaster allowed us to taste 3 kinds of beers at all the steps in the process so we could see the differences. It was a great experience. At the end we had to use a breathalyzer to make sure that we were well below the legal limit before we could drive home!
Day 2-5 was OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training. Not the most exciting portion of my training, but very important and informative. The brewery works with many hazardous chemicals (ammonia, caustic, CO2) and high speed, potentially dangerous equipment (palletizers, can/bottle fillers). It is imperative that every employee in the brewery is aware of this and knows how to keep themselves and others safe in the brewery. Our trainer, Terry, made it fun though. He was a part of the construction of the Fort Collins Brewery that opened in 1988 and has been there ever since.
Friday was a little more of a normal day. I got a chance to sit at my desk, get my computer set up and get to know the rest of the people in my department. I sat down with our Senior People Manager and People Supervisor and received my NIP (New in Position Plan) that detailed what my next few weeks would look like. I also got to sit in on some performance review meetings, which was an amazing experience. They take an individual look at each employee and determine where they are performance wise and where they could be in the future. They take a look at performance, manager insight and the career aspirations of the employee and determine what the next step should be. The information in these meetings eventually goes up to “Zone” (North American Headquarters) in Saint Louis and decisions are made on promotions. Then at 3:00 we wrapped up for the day and headed to our weekly beer on the patio. This is chance for employees to gather, converse, drink some great A-B beer and get ready for the weekend.
So far this has been a great experience. Stay tuned to read about how I shadowed employees in all parts of the brewery. Maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll share a picture of me in my PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). I mean doesn’t everyone look great in ear plugs, safety glasses, a neon vest and a hat? :)