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Specialized ProfessionBrewing Bud Light is harder than you think. I should know, I’m Dave Taylor, Head Brewer for Bud Light. AMA

Sep 18th 2017 by IamDaveTaylor • 32 Questions • 354 Points

Hi Reddit, we are the Cody Firearms Museum here to answer questions. We are a museum in NW Wyoming near Yellowstone and we have over 7,000 firearms and 28,000+ related artifacts in our collection. We interpret the history of firearms from the 1400s to the present. Our oldest firearm dates to at least the fifteenth century and our newest was made last year. We are the repository for the Winchester Factory Collection & Corporate Archive, the Eli Whitney Jr. Collection, the Benjamin Butler Collection, and the Edwin Pugsley Collection. We also have the archives of Schuyler, Hartley, & Graham, Marlin, L.C. Smith, and Ithaca.

We are part of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which includes the Whitney Western Art Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, and McCracken Research Library. The Center is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and we currently planning a major renovation of our museum. If you want to search our collection go here for objects, or here for archival material, or just check our post history. Our Curator, Ashley, and Assistant Curator, Danny, are here to answer your questions for the next couple of hours. Ask us about firearms history, museums, or whatever.

Twitter proof.

Or check us out on Facebook or Instagram.

Update: Thanks for the questions everyone! We had fun. We have to run to meetings, but if you have more ask and we'll check back.

Q:

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

A:

What is the fuddiest thing you have heard from museum patrons?


Q:

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.

A:

We heard a great story yesterday about how John Browning invented semi-autos by putting a spoon on the end of a barrel. We also heard a good story about how someone's Model 1886 Winchester took part in the Battle of Little Bighorn, which happened in 1876.


Q:

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

A:

I got a chance to meet some of your team at the Ohio Gun Collector's Association show last weekend; they were showing me their process for looking up Winchester serials and deciphering all of the old factory records and ledgers you guys have access to. Super dense, flowery old-timey handwriting, notes sideways in the margins, strike-throughs and corrections...enough to drive somebody mad.

So aside from being forced to get really familiar with Winchester factory foremen shorthand and 130 year old abbreviations and slang, what's the most surprising/interesting thing you've unearthed about how the business was run and guns were made back in that time?


A:

How most of John Browning's designs were modified before they made it to production. It was a combination of design genius and production know how.


Q:

Do you only drink Bud Light?

A:

Two different kinds of genius; inventing a thing, and adapting it to mass production.


Q:

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.

A:

We have the Winchester's drawing collection, two-thirds of it is how to make the tools to make the guns.


Q:

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?

A:

Why not an actual shooting range with some less rare guns?


Q:

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.

A:

We have talked about starting a collection of non-accessioned firearms for the purpose of shooting, but it would be difficult, we don't really have the staff or facility to make that happen. The range in town does a really good job already giving people a chance to shoot reproductions.


Q:

What was your career path to brewmaster?

A:

On a scale of 1 to Houston how wet were you when Based Gun Jesus Ian was shooting at your museum?


Q:

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.

A:

Florida? He also brought me whiskey so that was nice. I drank it all, so he should come back - Ashley


Q:

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?

A:

Nice. Do you know if that made Karl jealous?


Q:

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

A:

Not sure, but Karl should come sometime.


Q:

I guess it's like producing Nickelback albums.

A:

Did most of the firearms come from donations? I can't imagine the cost of purchasing that many antiques off the market.


Q:

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

A:

Haha if only I had that kind of money. About 4,000 of our 7,000 guns came from the Winchester Arms Collection. It was started in the 1860s by Oliver Winchester and includes guns from all of history. The other collections are from individuals and gun companies...but if we find something super awesome, we do try to buy it


Q:

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?

A:

Why did you find it important to mention that you are millenials in your title post?


Q:

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.

A:

Because it seems to not be what people expect when they hear "Arms Curator" - Danny

Because it's better than saying I'm a girl - Ashley


Q:

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.

A:

Ah mah gerd, a girl! Quick, hide the porn.


Q:

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.


Q:

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

A:

What is the biggest misconception younger people have regarding firearms?


Q:

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.

A:

There's so many misconceptions about guns, I could go on for days. But I think many younger people don't realize the diversity in the types of firearms that have been developed since the 1200s and also how integral firearms have been to so many different facets of history

I think there's also a common misconception too that there's a lack of younger people interested in firearms history. Bustle just did an article on millennials and firearms the other day.


Q:

Don't you know, you should only drink one beer, no matter what.

A:

which of the oldest firearms require the least amount of maintenance and care (humidity, etc...)? which are the most fragile relative to their age?


Q:

Dilly, Dilly!

A:

Most of the firearms have pretty similar care requirements. So we maintain temperature and humidity. The most fragile gun we had was probably the Great Basin Winchester that went viral a few years ago. The park brought it to us to stabilize before it went on display back at Great Basin.


Q:

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?

A:

Was that the one found leaning against a tree? Imagine being the person who found that jewel.


Q:

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.

A:

Yes it was, we still get questions about it.


Q:

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!


Q:

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!

A:

The X-ray was how we found the cartridge in the stock.


Q:

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?

A:

Haha that's like saying "You said most of your collections were Hondas. I instantly thought of my Toyota."


Q:

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.

A:

We've failed you, if it was Firefly or X-Files we might have been there.


Q:

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

A:

Which firearm(s) are your favorites and which one(s) are you proudest of having in the collection?


Q:

That must mean someone is holding my family hostage.

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

A:

Our favorites change a lot based on what we are researching at the time, maybe one of the most proud is Oliver Winchester's Jennings rifle. We know it is his because of a letter he wrote which we have and we consider it the oldest reference to our collection.


Q:

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

A:

What's the oldest gun you have there?


Q:

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

A:

We have a barrel of a hand cannon that might be 13th century, and a breechblock from a cannon that dates to the 15th century.


Q:

How much free beer do you receive?

A:

Dude that's so cool


Q:

A fair amount. I know a guy.

A:

We think so!


Q:

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

A:

Do you think the Nagant revolver shot more friendly retreating Russians or enemies during its time in use?


Q:

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

A:

We're not sure if it shot anything, that trigger pull is ridiculous to keep on target.


Q:

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.

A:

Why is it called the Cody museum?


Q:

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.

A:

When Winchester donated their collection originally it was called the Winchester Arms Museum. When the current museum opened in 1991 Bill Ruger was on our board and wrote a million dollar check to, "Name this son of bitch anything other than a firearms manufacturer." So the board changed the name to the town's namesake, Cody. The quote is from the meeting minutes.


Q:

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

A:

This may be sorta off topic, but is there a lot of interest in firearms history in the academic arena? Do you ever see PhD candidates doing their dissertations in firearms history going through your doors?


Q:

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.

A:

We occasionally get some form of academic research in firearms, but it's limited. It's something we want to encourage since we think we have some great primary resources for it, but it is pretty niche in the academic world.


Q:

Bud Light Lime. What went wrong?

A:

That's unfortunate :(. It's been my dream to one day quit my job and get a PhD in history researching something I'm actually passionate about.


Q:

That’s like asking “what went wrong with summer?”

A:

It's not impossible, but it is a narrow track.


Q:

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

A:

Other than visiting the museum, how can the public help support the museum, make donations, etc.

Are there any programs or workshops offered to patrons where they can get hands on experience with replicas?


Q:

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.

A:

We are currently fundraising an $8million dollar renovation. So if anyone wants to help with that give us a shout!

We offer educational programs all summer where visitors can get hands on with replicas. We will have more educational and hands on opportunities when the renovated museum opens in 2019. But by next summer we would like to do a joint venture with the local gun range where you get a tour of the museum in the morning and then head over to the gun range and shoot reproductions of the historic guns you saw


Q:

Is there a firearm in the collection you looked at for the first time and thought, "what was the designer thinking?(!)"

A:

We have a gun on loan from the Smithsonian called the Josselyn Chain Revolver. It is the patent model. It is a tiny pistol with a large bicycle- like chain that functions like a cylinder...only not at all


Q:

Have you ever shot a Winchester 1895 in 7.62x54r? And can you give me one?

A:

Haven't shot one before, but we do have some. They gotta stay here though.


Q:

Are you hiring?

A:

Not right now, but we do take paid interns during the summer.


Q:

Where would one apply for that internship position, on the website?

A:

https://centerofthewest.org/learn/internships/

2018 positions will probably be posted in January.


Q:

Would your collection happen to include any shotguns from Japan in the late 1800s [Meiji Restoration-era]?

I know pistols and rifles were most common in that time period for Japan, but I haven't found much about shotguns.

A:

Unfortunately not, our collection is weaker when it comes to Asian firearms.


Q:

Perhaps I missed it but is the COdy Firearms Museum all your doing or did you guys just take over from a previous curator?

A:

The original iteration of the museum was known as the Winchester Arms Museum, which opened in 1976, then it became the Cody Firearms Museums in 1991. So we have a long line of Curators to follow.


Q:

What's your rarest British piece?

A:

It's a close competition. We have an EM-2, an English Wheelock made in the 1600s with provenance through most of its life, and the only surviving Brown Bess from the Colonial 51st Regiment.


Q:

Because you can find old white dudes talking about guns anywhere

A:

We didn't think too much about it, apparently we should have.


Q:

What futuristic or fake gun do you wish you could own?

A:

The Burton is pretty space rifley, but we have it. I'd really like to get some sci-fi movie prop guns in the collection - Danny

Zoe's Mare's Leg - Ashley


Q:

What does the museum's collection of more modern guns look like?

A:

Our modern collection is rather sad although we are always trying to improve it. When we got the Winchester Collection on loan in 1975, we had firearms pretty much up until that date. Without the corporate collecting from Winchester, it's been difficult to keep adding current firearms - especially ones that people don't consider historic. We do have a great Glock exhibit though!