Just like a yeast cell that catalyzes the fermentation process essential to brewing beer, a UC Davis education was the stimulus for Doug Muhleman’s successful career at Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Muhleman began working for the brewing company soon after graduating and quickly moved up the ranks. He was appointed resident brewmaster at age 32, making him the youngest person to hold that title in the company’s history. In 2008, Muhleman retired as Anheuser-Busch’s Group Vice President of Brewing Operations and Technology, where he was responsible for 10,000 employees across five corporate groups, the company’s domestic and international breweries and its agricultural operations.
“When I went to work at Anheuser-Busch I was with other recent college grads who didn’t have the breadth of knowledge of the brewing sciences that I had coming into the job,” said Muhleman, whose two children are UC Davis alumni. “Over the course of my career, AB hired scores of UC Davis grads because the UC Davis-educated brewer came with a skill set and knowledge base that really wasn’t possible from another university.”
Muhleman furthered the partnerships between his employer and alma mater by helping create the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Chair for Malting and Brewing Sciences in the Department of Food Science and Technology and the pilot brewery, a campus research facility that opened in April 2006. He also was instrumental in arranging a $5 million matching pledge from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation to establish the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory in UC Davis’ Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
Muhleman and his wife, Juli, have supported several initiatives around campus, including the creation of the Michael J. Lewis Endowment for Brewing Science in honor of Muhleman’s teacher and mentor, and gifts to the pollination center in the Department of Entomology. They say they want to encourage others to support a university that contributes great things to society.
“I have a fundamental belief that university education and research is vital to the state of California and our country. The work that UC Davis faculty and graduate researchers are doing is quite profound,” Muhleman said. “Juli and I are very excited to be involved with an institution that is solving big, big problems in a very innovative way.”