Hey, I’m Dave Taylor and I’m the head brewer at Bud Light. A few years ago I was the staff brewmaster in St. Louis, and now I oversee brewing for all of Bud Light.

Proof!

While studying chemical engineering at Mizzou, I got really interested in brewing equipment. That led me to start brewing Bud Light at Anheuser-Busch and after a couple weeks I became obsessed with trying to perfect the brewing process.

Now I’m in charge of making one of the toughest types of beer there is to brew, light lager. It’s a hard job, but that’s why I love it.

And no, I’m not the guy from MythBusters.

Ask me anything about Bud Light or anything else…

*edit: Thanks for all the questions guys, had a lot of fun. Thanks for taking it easy on me. It's almost time for the 3PM tasting panel, so I’ve got to get back to "work" (taste some beer). Cheers!

Comments: 795 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

Macarogi288 karma

Is it satisfying making a beer that beer lovers think is awful?

ElMangosto173 karma

I'm sure brewing the most popular beer in America really weighs on his conscience.

Macarogi161 karma

I guess it's like producing Nickelback albums.

IamDaveTaylor713 karma

So this is how you remind me of what I really am?

kreszentialynne235 karma

What is with the recent smear-campaign like commercials put out by Budlight and BudWeiser about how "ridiculous" craft beer is, when your company owns half ten of the craft breweries on the market?

IamDaveTaylor56 karma

We don't see it as a smear campaign, especially because Anheuser-Busch has a lot of craft partners. This campaign was meant merely to show how complex beers have become and highlight our recipe of four essential ingredients. There's a lot of great beers out there with a lot of different recipes and that's great, but this campaign is meant to highlight and be proud of our recipe.

We have some amazing craft partners, with some great brands. Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, Devil's Backbone Danzig, Goose Island IPA, Karbach Love Street, Elysian Great Pumpkin and 10 Barrel Cucumber Crush are some of my favorites. To be clear though, we have 10 U.S. craft partners out of over 5000 craft breweries.

PTKM182 karma

Are you skilled enough to be able to copy beers from other brewers? Say I challenge you to drink a mystery beer and you have to make it without knowing what ingredients were in it. Are you able to do It?

IamDaveTaylor208 karma

I love this question! I don’t really try to copy other beers, but it is really fun to take an idea and try to perfect the taste. For example, did you try Shock Top Twisted Pretzel? Very cool trying to make a beer taste like a pretzel. I can’t always take personal credit, but I have an amazing group of Brewmasters on the team. Just last week I was looking at some experimental hops with great peach notes. We constantly have innovations in the pipeline that start with challenges just like yours.

coltajerone119 karma

Does it get boring brewing the exact same beer every time?

IamDaveTaylor161 karma

No. Brewing Bud Light is about discipline and a strong routine. We have an amazing group of brewers and technicians than take great pride in the attention to detail that is required each day.

Bud Light isn’t the only brand we brew. We are constantly working with new brands and innovation. We are also work with new packages, like our aluminum bottle.

I get excited about new ideas every day.

Imbris2257 karma

Blink twice if they're holding you hostage in a giant beer vat.

coltajerone20 karma

Is Bud Lite all done in the same facility? I've often wondered how you maintain such consistency @ massive volumes.

IamDaveTaylor68 karma

We brew Bud Light at all 12 U.S. breweries and you're right it is important to maintain consistency over such a large volume of production. That's what makes this job so interesting and challenging.

In addition to obsessive process control, our local brewmasters taste the beer daily, and send in their beer to St. Louis every week to be compared side-by-side. It's the ultimate way to control consistency... head-to-head competition amongst our brewmasters.

PandaXS87 karma

Hey Dave, how do you deal with all the online hatred for Bud Light? You seem to take great pride in your beer and I love a BL myself. But as craft beers explodes and bubbles there has been so much distaste for big macro brews and I'm curious to how you deal with that and how you see the beer market changing in the future.

IamDaveTaylor129 karma

Stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll get plenty.

As far as craft, I support anything that advances beer culture. The craft movement has elevated beer interest, and expanded the beer styles available to the consumer. That being said, I stand behind the quality of Bud Light and the American light lager style.

i_am_a_donkee72 karma

Do you only drink Bud Light?

IamDaveTaylor162 karma

I think there is a beer for every occasion. I drink a wide variety of beers. My favorite beer for a hot day at the pool, is different than the beer I’ll drink watching football with my friends. Bud Light is the beer I drink the most often. I’m sure I’m slightly biased, because I understand all the work and steps that go into brewing it. We often say, those who know Bud Light, drink Bud Light.

mattreyu68 karma

I know there's many varities of Bud Light (Lime, Golden Wheat, the -a-ritas), but are there any that were tested but didn't end up hitting retail?

IamDaveTaylor120 karma

Hundreds. Innovation takes a lot of trial and error.

NoFunHere60 karma

Hi Dave, thanks for doing this.

I toured the Coors brewery in Golden, CO and the beer on tap at the brewery tasted so much better than any Coors I have bought in the store.

Was this my mind playing tricks on me or is the beer really better right at the brewery? Do people tell you the same about AB products?

IamDaveTaylor86 karma

That is a great observation. It is true that fresh beer tastes better. Route to market is critical. We have a strong distribution network. We can get our beer into the market quickly. We know our beer is best when consumed within 110 days.

You should join us for a tour here in St. Louis. Our Brewmaster tour includes a sample directly from a filtered beer tank.

brecka24 karma

I took the free tour last weekend before I headed to the Cards game, mainly because that's all that was available for a last-minute decision. But I 100% agree, I noticed how much more crisp and well... fresh it tasted there.

I was considering going back in a few weeks to try out the beer school tour. How would you recommend that one over the other tours?

IamDaveTaylor3 karma

I actually haven’t been on that tour. I really like the Brewmaster tour. It includes a sample directly from the filtered beer tank. I also like the Beer Museum tour, but I’m a fan of beer history.

streakingdragon55 karma

What was your career path to brewmaster?

IamDaveTaylor78 karma

I grew up in rural Missouri. Beer was an important part of any celebration, and Bud Light was the brand of choice. Everyone loves A-B.

I got my Chemical Engineering degree from Mizzou, and jumped at the chance to join the A-B Engineering team. I fell in love with brewing - everything about it, from the equipment to the final product.

I lead the design of brewery expansions in Columbus and Los Angeles for a few years, then I moved over the Brewing department. I’ve been having fun brewing great beer ever since.

hobnobbinbobthegob42 karma

What are the odds that I can convince you to find all copies of this stupid commercial and ritualistically delete/burn them?

IamDaveTaylor38 karma

Dilly, Dilly!

wasting_ti39 karma

What makes it so tough to brew?

IamDaveTaylor78 karma

Hey, that's a great question.

Bud Light is difficult to brew because as a light lager, it’s designed to be crisp, clean and refreshing. We brew this difficult style using four essential ingredients: barley, rice, water and hops. The style of beer leaves nowhere to hide imperfections.

Brewing Bud Light to be clean and crisp requires a lot of extra brewing attention. We have unique processes like double filtration of the water and beechwood aging. Even our fermenters have a unique design to remove Braunhefe, a bitter combination of proteins that float on fermenter foam. Bud Light is also filtered to ensure it is crystal clear.

Happy to get into more detail.

MightyMrFish31 karma

What is your preferred way of drinking a Bud Light? Is there anything that you add to it or any special way of serving/drinking it?

IamDaveTaylor123 karma

I get to pour it straight from the tank, so I guess technically that’s draft.

ElMangosto28 karma

Hey Dave! Thanks for stopping by!

I am allergic to wheat and was told you guys use rice in Bud Light. But I am also allergic to corn and cannot find anything definitive about that online.

It would be a big deal for me to be able to drink Bud Light again...can you clear up the "corn mystery" for me?

I think the reason alcohol doesn't require ingredient labels is to help keep recipes a secret, so if you can't answer this one I understand.

Thank you!

IamDaveTaylor51 karma

Bud Light is brewed with four essential ingredients - barley, rice, water and hops. It does not contain wheat or corn.

You can always check information for all of our brands on www.TapIntoYourBeer.com

Hopefully, this means you will enjoy a Bud Light soon!

internet_degenerate25 karma

Given the variation in crops from year to year, how much does the BL recipe change from year to year? Is it different at different breweries because of ingredient availability?

IamDaveTaylor24 karma

This is a great question. We take this very seriously and you're right, the raw materials do vary slightly from year-to-year due to exactly what you're mentioning.

Take a look at this answer for more information.

int3rl0per22 karma

What would happen if you were spotted drinking a coors light?

IamDaveTaylor79 karma

That must mean someone is holding my family hostage.

In reality, we taste competitor beers routinely to understand the market and competition.

Daltontk22 karma

Hey Dave,

I'm not a AB fan myself but I respect you guys for how skilled at brewing you are. I work at a craft beer market and I will always tell people that you can pick up a Bud Light In Fl, and it'll taste the same in Cali.

I wanted to know if there was any one particular beer that you remember getting you into the beer trade?

IamDaveTaylor21 karma

Thanks for the comment. I really apprecate when we are regonized for conistency, even by those who prefer other brands.

I chose to join the company because I was a BIG Budweiser fan in college. I loved the brand, and actually took less money to join the company. As you know the beer business can be really fun, although sometime challenging. I can't imagine doing anything else.

agtmichaelscorn19 karma

How much free beer do you receive?

IamDaveTaylor66 karma

A fair amount. I know a guy.

tcournoy16 karma

As a home brewer, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the amount of consistency and science that goes into brewing at that scale. Kudos.

As for my question, what is the most innovative beer you have tried?

IamDaveTaylor22 karma

Kudos to you for home brewing. I love people who have a passion for brewing like me.

Our friends at 10 Barrel have a great beer called Cucumber Crush. It is a very innovative beer because it's a combination of a sour, a wheat base and delicate cucumber. It's a lactic fermentation we're dealing with, so it has to be brewed separately from the wheat base. Then what's cool is balancing the cucumber when all those parts come together.

Christron16 karma

How do you maintain quality/consistency for such a widespread and popular beer?

IamDaveTaylor26 karma

Consistency is absolutely critical. We perform hundreds of quality checks between our raw material, brewing, and packaging operations. Brewing alone has over 100 quality checks. We use a combination of field checks, laboratory analysis, sensory analysis, and inline instrumentation. At the end of it all, every brew gets tasted before it is released. There is no substitute for the tasting expertise of a good brewer.

rotarychainsaw11 karma

Is this AMA sanctioned by corporate or are you gonna lose your job for talking to a bunch of internet nerds?

IamDaveTaylor43 karma

If I suddenly stop responding, you’ll know they’ve found the broom closet I’m hiding in.

neu8ball10 karma

What sort of tests do you perform to ensure taste/color/quality are all the same in the finished product/batches? Are there people who actually taste Bud Light?

IamDaveTaylor20 karma

We have hundreds of taste and quality checks that we perform on Bud Light throughout the brewing process. These quality checks are performed by REAL PEOPLE. We have a lot of great technology and processes that make our beer great, but the best process is the taste test by our brewmasters who have a passion for beer.

Tasting is a very serious part of the job. Each taster has well established thresholds for different flavors, and the panel is mixed to leverage different taster strengths. It is very importatnt that the environment is perfect, and there are no smells or distractions in our taste rooms. Also, anyone who has a cold for example, can't taste. Even the time of day is important. We taste in the late afternoon, when our tasters are starting to get hungry. It is an essential part of the art of brewing.

revzblove10 karma

How many bbl is each brew and do y'all recycle spent grains?

IamDaveTaylor20 karma

The brew size varies by brewery. Our largest kettle full volume is about 1000 bbls. Most of our spent grain goes to cattle feed.

orangejulius9 karma

What's an aspect of creating Bud Lite that's super interesting but people might not be aware of?

IamDaveTaylor39 karma

Great question. One thing that people don't always think about when brewing beer is the impact on the environment. A great thing about brewing Bud Light is our commitment to our Better World goals. Over the last 10 years we've reduced water usage by 50%, reduced energy usage by 30% and we recently made a commitment to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

dipepps9 karma

Craft breweries have the ability to switch things up quickly and experiment with beers they put out with pretty low risk. You have BL Lime, Platinum, Lime-a-ritas, Chelada, etc. What's up next for Bud Light in terms of variety - any nitros or sours coming down the BL line in the future?

IamDaveTaylor20 karma

I think you’re going see some exciting things for Bud Light in 2018...can’t discuss the details.

I’ve been really excited about the strong relationship with our craft partners. You are absolutely right. The craft group brings amazing creativity and fast development.

Voodoo12858 karma

What would Bud Light taste like if you didn't put rice in it? Would the result be the same(ish)?

Not the biggest Bud drinker (got burned out going to school in Mid MO and having it being the only thing available), but I'm not above Bud Light Lime after doing yard work or working on my car when its 29034821347219857 degrees out, so thanks for that stuff!

IamDaveTaylor5 karma

Yikes. That's pretty hot, but you're right. It's a great time to enjoy a Bud Light Lime.

To answer your question: No. Without the rice, it would be very different. The important part of brewing a light beer is balance. The rice is part of the crisp clean finish. The rest of the recipe is then tailored to balance the lighter body. Bud Light has a unique hop bill and brewing process.

DrunkWisconsinite_87 karma

Do you refer to yourself as a "Beer Scientist"? And would you consider getting a PhD so you can be "The Doctor of Beer"?

PS: Huge fan of your work.

IamDaveTaylor12 karma

I usually just refer to myself as Dave, but I like the sound of “The Doctor of Beer.”

Brewmasters come in many shapes and sizes, but the most important trait of any brewmaster is a great passion for beer. It's our passion for beer that unites us. That's why I'm proud to work with all of our brewmasters who share my passion for brewing Bud Light at a benchmark-level quality and consistency every time. I love being a brewer and I'll always be an engineer.

In the end it's not about a single brewmaster, we have an amazing team of brewers and craftsmen.

Bad-Brains7 karma

Hey Dave, my dad brewed his own beer and it was fantastic.

What advice do you have for all the home brewers out there? Also, what do you think of the craft brew movement here in America?

IamDaveTaylor12 karma

To homebrewers: Have fun. Cleaning is critical. Don't forget to keep a journal. Don't be afraid to try different styles.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I like the craft beer movement because it's advancing beer culture.

InLikeErrolFlynn7 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA, Dave. How much of your job goes into testing raw materials for Bud Light? I'd imagine that even the slightest variant in barley protein levels from year to year would have an impact on the recipe you use. Is there a lot of tweaking that goes on to make sure you stay within the right flavor profile? No one wants a phone call from 220.

IamDaveTaylor11 karma

Is this Ralph?

Testing raw materials is a huge part of the job. I was just at both the US and German hops farms to see the harvest.

Brewing beer is a variable process, and ingredients will vary slightly by season based weather and other growing conditions.

This is where the art of brewing takes over. To brew Bud Light constantly, you need to account for the inherent variability of raw materials. The final judge of the taste profiles of our beers is always our brewmasters, who are highly experienced with well-refined sensory abilities. The goal is consistency of Bud Light, so our customers never see a variation in taste. For beer, consistency is king.

Panda-Excess6 karma

Will you adopt me?

Bud Light is the blood in my veins so I already feel a kin to you.

IamDaveTaylor16 karma

Do you have all your shots?

GG_Blizzard6 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. Im a student of chemical engineering right now at the Karlsruher Institue of Techology(KIT).

What do you think are some of the best universities to study chemical engineering ?

Is it relevant when you hire people?

Also what was the subject you hated the most during college?

IamDaveTaylor13 karma

If you’re in Germany, and like brewing, you’d have to consider Weihenstephan. There are many great engineering schools in the US. We hire a lot of employees from MIT, Washington University, Virginia Tech, U of I, George Tech, Purdue, Cornell, and several others. Man College was a while ago. I can’t remember hating a particular class, although my physics class was a load of work.

nonvegan6 karma

What is a process that you do at Bud Light that is done better than at other breweries?

IamDaveTaylor16 karma

Our processes are perfect for Bud Light and the other beers that we brew, and I'm sure that other brewers would say the same about their breweries. I don't want to say that we're better than other brewers, but we take great pride in what we brew.

What makes a great brewer is an uncompromising commitment to quality, great people, and the best raw materials. In an earlier question, I talked about some of the unique processes like beechwood aging. These processes were designed to make Bud Light clean and crisp.

Cannon12 karma

Is yeast an ingredient?

IamDaveTaylor3 karma

Yeast is not an ingredient, but it is a very important part of the brewing process. We often call yeast the “Life” of beer. Yeast is used to convert fermentable sugars into alcohol. After fermentation is complete, it’s filtered out of Bud Light.

mickcube2 karma

when my bros and i get together to crush case after case of bud light, i usually spend more time on the toilet the next day than i would have if we drank coors or miller. why does bud light hurt my tummy more?

IamDaveTaylor15 karma

That's rough. Maybe it goes down smoother. Next time, drink Bud Light in moderation. I bet your tummy will feel much better.