Labatt's Hometown Brewery

Our supply rotation in London, Ontario

From Left to Right: Liz MacDonald, Sam Voisine, Mathieu Choquette-Scott, J.P. Nixon

Hey there! My name is Sam and I graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce. My first experience working at Labatt was as a Corporate Affairs Intern in the Summer of 2018 at our Toronto office. Now, as a part of the GMT program, I’m in the midst of my Sales Rotation in Calgary! But before I arrived in Calgary, I wrapped up my Supply Rotation at Labatt’s Hometown Brewery in London, Ontario alongside Liz, J.P., and Mathieu. Let’s rewind back to the beginning of our Supply Rotation.

When we arrived at the brewery on our first day, we were eager to learn, take on a new challenge, and connect with those at the brewery dedicated to brewing and packaging our products first-hand. Each of us was given the opportunity to work on a project that pushed us out of our comfort zones and into the worlds of either packaging or brewing. We spent our first week going through overviews of our Brewing, Packaging, Quality, and Logistics functions. We then spent a week working shifts and shadowing the Front-Line Managers in Packaging who run our Bottle, Can, and Keg Lines. We all agreed that the amount of time, effort, and detail that goes into making the best quality of our brands was eye-opening!

The coolest part of our rotation? We got to brew our very own beer using London’s Magic Brew system! Our group decided to make a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Brown Ale #fallvibes. Learning about the brewing process by doing each step ourselves was the best way to understand how important every detail is. From mashing to fermenting to packaging, everything was done by hand. The result was a flavourful autumn ale with a hint of cinnamon.

Left: Magic Brew System, Right: Packaging Final Product in Bottles

We ended our rotation by diving deeper into our projects. My project was to reduce the amount of Scuff Wax we use on the bottle packaging line. What is scuff wax you ask? (I had the same question.) We use returnable bottles to package our beer, which means they tend to go through some wear and tear along the way. Scuff wax is applied to our beer bottles right before they are labelled and packed to make them appear shiny and brand new. By the end of my project, I was able reduce our scuff wax usage and worked with our Packaging team to put methods in place to make the results sustainable.

On a final note, the following are some of my favourite tips we received from some of the amazing people we worked with at the brewery:

1) “In a fast-paced environment, it’s important to hit the ground running by finding the right information from the right resources and the right people.”

2) “Listening, understanding, and putting people first, opens up a world of possibilities.”

3) “Using empathy to connect with people at every level of our company is a valuable asset. Empathy is what separates good managers from great leaders.”