Mikus’s dedication to the family business led him to enrol in the Institute for Co-operative Education program through the John Molson School of Business, and work at the distillery while taking online classes to learn the ropes of the industry.
“Co-op is probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says Mikus, who had placements at Genetec and Bombardier while studying. “When you’re doing internships, you’re actually implementing a lot of the things that upper management or your team are working on.”
Despite the busy schedule, Mikus says the practical skills he acquired, coupled with his academic knowledge, helped facilitate his transition to the professional world.
He credits Pierre-Yann Dolbec, associate professor of marketing, for helping him develop his entrepreneurial know-how. He learned essential e-commerce and corporate spending principles that brought complex business initiatives to life.
“Dolbec taught amazing high-level strategy that really introduced a wide range of digital marketing skills and involved executing projects,” he says.
Mikus also attributes his early professional success to lecturer Denis Beauchesne, lecturer in the Department of Management, who gave him formative lessons on how to manage a small business.
During that time, Mikus was able to directly inject what he learned at John Molson into his work at the distillery, which improved both his management of the business and his student experience. The managerial accounting class, which he says many students struggled with, turned out to be the class with which he was most at ease.
“It taught me a lot of information that I never knew about my own business,” he says. “I could see where my optimizations for profit margins keep me afloat.”
Sustainability that ‘just makes sense’
Mikus and his brother take pride in the distillery’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Starting with Royalmount gin — which is packaged in the market’s lightest spirit bottle to reduce carbon emissions during transportation — Mikus says the 1769 Distillery is ready to take it further and become an industry leader when it comes to sustainability in Canada.