Archive for the ‘guinness’ tag

BEER EXPERTISE BROUGHT TO A NEW LEVEL AT MKTG

with one comment

 

 

MKTG’s very own Senior Guinness Brewery Ambassador Chris McClellan was recently notified that he passed his Advanced Cicerone Exam. To put this achievement into perspective, there are currently 100 Advanced Cicerones in the world, and less than 10% of people who pass, do so on the first attempt, as Chris did. We all know that Chris knows beer, and this certification places him in rare company. We sat down with Chris to learn a little bit more about how he turned his love for all things beer into a career, and how the entire Guinness Brewery Ambassador team at MKTG has helped Guinness build on their reputation as a leading global brewery.

Q: Tell us about your role as a Senior Guinness Brewery Ambassador at MKTG:

A: We started the Guinness Brewery Ambassador program at MKTG about three years ago with the vision of building a national team of beer experts and storytellers. This is a totally unique offering in the beer business, even today, with no other brewery offering this sort of team. It’s an unbelievably interesting and competitive beer market here in the U.S with almost 7,000 operating breweries across the country. The previous high for number of breweries was in the 1870’s at just over 4,000!

Today, beer is all about great stories and education, and our efforts have nicely positioned us to fully support and help build on the audience for Guinness’ portfolio. My role is both as a regional Ambassador for the brewery, and strategist for program. I help set some of the vision for the program, along with our entire team of talented Ambassadors, build our digital presence and toolkit, and try to act as a sounding board for any/all beer-related programming in my region.

Q: How did you land a job working in Beer? What was your journey?

A: I have worked in beer for about ten years now, on and off. My first job in beer was upon finishing business school at the University of Vermont when I landed a job at Magic Hat Brewing Company, my local brewery in my hometown of South Burlington, VT. Most people have heard of Magic Hat, so it was a great springboard into the industry. Since then, I’ve worked in various positions, both in strategy, marketing and sales.

I started my storytelling website and digital consulting practice about six years ago, The Brew Enthusiast, which I still try to write for with whatever time I’ve got left in the day (if you’re interested in beer, sign up for the weekly newsletter). I have written about beer for a bunch of different publications over the years as well, which is how I got on the radar for Guinness. I could talk about this story for hours…I’ve gotten lucky more than few times to get to where I am now, and I think most people could say that about their careers in some regard.

Q: What is the Advanced Cicerone® Exam? Is it for Guinness experts only or for beer experts across the board?

A: You can see more details on the Advanced Cicerone exam here, but essentially it’s a very difficult 10-hour exam (all in one day) held a few times a year on all things beer. The Cicerone Program was started eleven years ago by Ray Daniels, a legend in the beer industry. You need to have passed the previous two levels (Certified Beer Server® and Certified Cicerone®) to be eligible to take the Advanced Cicerone® exam.

It’s very similar to the levels of the Sommelier program in wine, which people might be a little more familiar with. It’s essentially built to help certify and benchmark industry standards in knowledge and education.

Not only do I have to be an expert on global and regional beer styles and their history, but also beer quality, draught systems, food and beer pairings, off flavor identification, etc. The sheer breadth of what you can be tested on is quite extensive, so I’m very proud of and humbled by this achievement.

Our entire team of Guinness Brewery Ambassadors, all of whom bring a unique skillset and incredible knowledge to their jobs, are at least at the Certified Cicerone® level, which is an extremely difficult level to achieve by itself and very rare in the beer industry (there are only about 3500 Certified Cicerone’s in the world right now). The program is definitely NOT just for Guinness experts, but most folks who take the Cicerone exams work in the beer business in some capacity. It’s for anyone looking to help certify their knowledge and become a known expert in the field.

Q: How did you prepare for the exam?

A: It helps tremendously if you work in the businessfor a few years at the very least, but on top of that I studied for almost the past few years whenever I had some free time. Beer style tastings, off flavor tastings (when you identify what’s wrong with the beer), reading all of my beer books over and over again, taking apart draught systems and putting them together, reading all the blogs I could, brewing with friends who work in the industry…again, I could go on for hours. It’s fun and a little stressful.

 

 

Q: You are now one of just 100 Advanced Cicerones on the planet! How does that feel and what’s next?

A: It feels great! I’m grateful for the support from MKTG and Diageo to help me get there. The entire GBA team is going to continue to push the needle for a great conversation around beer, and this accreditation is just another step on the stairs. I’m very passionate about beer, mostly because of the fascinating people who work in the beer business, so it doesn’t feel like work to me.

 

 

Share Button

Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

July 12th, 2018 at 11:54 am

A Day In The Life of…Guinness Ambassador Ryan Wagner

without comments

It’s that time again! Time to get to know another one of our amazing #HumansofMKTG.  To finish off the year, we’re taking a look at a day in the life of Ryan Wagner, our Baltimore-based Guinness Brewery Ambassador.

What exactly does it mean to be a Guinness Brewery Ambassador?

Well, there’s a team of nine of us around the country, we divide up the country evenly. My territory is Maryland, DC, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. It’s our job to kind of spread the gospel of Guinness in any way that we can. So it’s mainly focused on education, and whether that’s getting in front of the sales team at a distributer, or getting in front of the bartending staff at an on-premise account and making sure that they’re up to date on Guinness’s quality standards and pouring techniques and all those things. Then it’s also designing consumer-facing events. I’m working with the Maryland Zoo for instance, in creating a program surrounding live zoo animals and the animals that are on the Gilroy posters from Guinness. So I do whatever I can to increase awareness of the things that we’re doing and making sure that everyone is as educated as possible about the world of beer. Not just the world of Guinness, because if people are smarter drinkers, then we hope that’ll lead them to Guinness anyway. And then also because I’m based in Baltimore and our new brewery is being built here, I’ve been spending a lot of time helping everybody get up to speed at the brewery and in the taproom as well.

The cat that’s “probably screaming”

Would you tell us a little bit about your morning routine?

Because I work primarily with staff at bars and restaurants and things like that, I tend to use my mornings to get caught up on admin work, whether that’s responding to emails or dealing with expenses. So I usually take my time in the mornings because, more often than not, I know it’s going to be a later evening. I’ll spend the earlier part of the day working on the busy work.

 

What about first thing when you wake up in the morning? The before work stuff…

Oh my goodness. I hit the snooze button like 17 times. I deal with the cat that’s probably screaming at me. If it’s the day my fiancé doesn’t open the gym where she works, then I’ll get up and make breakfast for us. If she’s already gone and it’s just me then breakfast is something really simple like cereal. Then I sit down and turn the TV to CNN or ESPN and get caught up on what’s going on in the world. Finally, I open the computer and get to work.

 

Are you a big podcast listener?

Occasionally I’ll listen to a couple of the beer podcasts. Some of the stuff that the guys at Beervana do or Good Beer Hunting to, again, keep up with what’s going on in the market.

 

Do you have any go-to lunch spots?

Yeah, Smoothie King! When you work in beer, and you know you’re going to be drinking a lot of it, you know a lot of your calories for the day are going to be coming from beer. So you have to try to keep it light for lunch. It’s not always easy, but if there’s a Smoothie King around I try to have that for lunch.

 

What about an after work activity? Do you have a favorite?

Spending time with my fiancé. We both work a lot. Depending on the time of year I work three or four jobs and she’s busy as well. She’s a group fitness director for a regional chain of athletic clubs so my favorite activity is literally something as simple as an SVU marathon and laying on the couch and just being around each other.

So you said you’re typically working 3-4 jobs at a time, can you tell us a little more about what those are?

Yeah it’s quite a few things! My background is really varied. Obviously, Guinness is my fulltime job and where I spend the majority of my time. In addition to the experience I have working with beer, I have a couple other part-time gigs that are a lot of fun that I like to do whenever I have the opportunity to. One of them is teaching a class called Body Pump, which is a group fitness weight-training class. So I’ll typically do that once or twice a week it’s usually early in the morning where I’ll go to the gym and teach a class. And then I also work for the local CBS radio affiliate in Baltimore doing sports talk radio. So I’ll do that a few times a month, where I’ll pick up a few hours and go in and talk sports. Then I also work for the Orioles when they’re in season. I am the announcer at the ballpark at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, so I’m the public address announcer at the stadium.

 

So let’s say the Orioles are in season, what does your workweek look like?

I mean it depends. So they’re home 81 times a year typically for anywhere from 3-10 days in a row at a time so it really just varies from week to week. But if I’m working all of my jobs simultaneously, which doesn’t happen terribly often, I might wake up at 5am to go teach a 6am class. I’d get back to the house at 7:30, have breakfast, and work on some admin stuff until it’s time to go on the road and go do my Guinness day. I’d visit a couple of accounts, do a staff training, work with bartenders on Perfect Pour, meet with a distributor. I’d meet with my distributor manager, see what’s going on for the week with him. Then I would be at the ballpark by 5 or 5:30. The game would start at 7. I’m there until 10. Then there are days where I go right from the ballpark to the radio station to do 10:30 until midnight on the radio. Again, it doesn’t happen often but if I’m doing all four in one day that’s what it’d look like.

It was a pleasure speaking with Ryan about life as a Guinness Brewery Ambassador, sports announcer, group-fitness instructor, and radio host.  You can keep up with Ryan on Instagram and Twitter @rwags614 or just catch him at the Orioles home games next season.  

Now that we’re wrapping-up 2017 A Day In The Life pieces, I highly recommend closing your year by sitting down with a colleague you don’t know so well and getting to know them better. It’s a privilege to hear the stories of the people we surround ourselves with every day. One thing’s for sure, MKTG is full of some pretty amazing humans. – MaryKate

 

 

 

Share Button

Written by Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle
Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle

November 30th, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Guinness: Sole Sponsor for the Maxim Super Bowl 50 Party

without comments

Guinness was the sole beer sponsor for the 2016 Maxim Party – the invite-only Super Bowl event for Maxim’s VIPs, which took place on Saturday, February 6th.

Karma produced the 50,000 ft private waterfront venue on Treasure Island, 4 miles from downtown SF, with amazing views of the city, bay and bridges. The space was transformed into a premium ultra lounge featuring concert sound, theatrical lighting & effects, with full LED video walls. A$AP Rocky headlined the event with special performances by Lil Wayne and DJ sets by William Lifestyle, Devin Lucien & Balthazar Getty.

Guinness had it’s own footprint within the venue, including our own bar (serving Draught, Nitro IPA & Blonde), two Guinness beer booths, large reproductions of the old John Gilroy ads, the new limited release John Gilroy cans and corresponding live animals! These included a baby alligator, baby kangaroo and a toucan! These animals drew long lines and lots and lots of photos. Guests were invited to hold each of the animals and have their photos taken. The line formed near the Guinness bar, which allowed consumers to grab a Guinness before their photo shoot with the animals. Many social media posts were captured and I believe it caused positive buzz & visibility for the brand.

Our Guinness Brewery Ambassador, Eoghain Clavin, was also on-site to engage with consumers. He was able to train bartenders (at all bars) how to pour the perfect pint, which will hopefully carry over into their home pubs & catering gigs. He was also able to have in-depth beer conversations with some true beer fans. He was a big proponent in helping draw consumers over to the Guinness footprint.

Share Button

Written by Paige McConney
Paige McConney

February 8th, 2016 at 3:51 pm

FORTUNE FAVORS GUINNESS

without comments

images

Fortune also favors the bold.  As the ancient Latin proverb goes, the  Goddess of Luck, Fortuna, favors those who consummately undertake course of action and risks.  We like risks at MKTG INC. We also really like Guinness.

Guinness, robust with roasted flavors of chocolate and coffee,  has been audacious enough to infiltrate sports bar environments of late, challenging consumers to go Head-to-Head in pouring the Perfect Pint.  Boom! Karate chop! Take that Bud and Miller!

And to the victor go the spoils. Guinness invited only the best and boldest to their Grand Finale event to tenaciously pour for a trip to Las Vegas in celebration of Super Bowl XLV. While there was one ultimate Perfect Pint Winner in the NE Region, it is rumored there will be another Guinness Head-to-Head competition between Jerome Bettis and the individual with the most outrageously, bold moment.  Want in? Keep a lookout for MKTG INC in a sports bar near you.

In fact, it’s 5pm on Friday – we’re going to practice.

Share Button