Exploring Mutation's Brewscape: Dan Caudle's Transition from Classroom to Craft
Dan Caudle (IE ‘12) deeply respects beer's ancient history. It's among humanity's earliest and dearest creations. Some scholars link it to the rise of civilization, saying it boosted progress and innovation alongside bread.
Guiding the creative reins at Mutation Brewing Company, Caudle stands as the head brewer, steering the ship of innovation in the realm of craft beer. He is determined to craft unique, high-quality brews that pay homage to the past while embracing the present.
With each brew concocted under Caudle’s expertise, Mutation Brewing Company becomes a living tribute to the ancient art of brewing. Through Dan's hands, the echoes of time blend seamlessly with modern techniques, resulting in beers that not only tantalize the taste buds but also carry the essence of tradition.
From Classroom to Craft Beers
When selecting his major, Caudle was drawn to the multidisciplinary education offered by Georgia Tech's Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) program. The curriculum covered everything from machine learning to manufacturing, capturing Caudle’s diverse interests.
Caudle discovered the art of homebrewing with his friends and through these hands-on experiences he fell in love with the process of creating unique and flavorful beers. Fondly recalling those brewing sessions, Caudle mentioned, "Every time my friends and I would brew, we would usually name the new beer after the movie we were watching that night."
He really credits his career change to a brewing supply chain project specifically assigned by Damon P. Williams, College of Engineering’s first associate dean for inclusive excellence and chief diversity officer.
“Before that class, I didn’t recognize brewing as an option. It didn’t seem like an obvious path forward with the degree that I chose... I feel like I got insight [at Tech] about the importance of experiencing internships and co-ops, to get a foot in the door at the beginning of my career.”
After Caudle graduated, he worked in manufacturing consulting. However, he always felt like something was missing. He attended The American Brewers Guild in 2016 which included an internship that led to his first job in the brewing industry.
Caudle's profession in craft beer took a significant leap when he became Head Brewer at Mutation Brewing Company in September 2021. Overcoming construction delays and supply chain obstacles, he played an instrumental role in shaping the brewery's vision. "I got to implement process improvements that no one else knew, and I was able to prove to myself that I do know what I am talking about.”
Georgia Tech not only shaped Caudle's career but also left a lasting mark on his love story. In the midst of a GT football game, unknowingly Caudle met his future wife, Merry Hunter Caudle (Public Policy ‘13, MBA ‘21), through some mutual friends.
They didn’t meet when they were students, but after graduation. They hit it off and started going on beer tours and other GT Athletic events together. Eventually, Caudle decided that the campus had such an intrinsic part of their lives he wanted to propose at Tech Tower.
The two celebrated their engagement by driving around in the classic Ramblin’ Reck. Naturally, they exchanged vows at the Academy of Medicine.
Today, Merry Hunter contributes to Georgia Tech's economic development in the Office of Institute Relations, as the Associate Director. With their home adorned in Tech colors and sports games on their calendar, they truly embody the spirit of a proud yellow jacket couple.
Crafting the Unknown
Looking to the future, Caudle’s passion extends beyond the brew kettle, as he continuously seeks to evolve and adapt in the dynamic craft beer industry.
His dedication to continuous improvement includes listening to industry podcasts, exploring generative AI for efficient practices, and pursuing a certification to become a cicerone, which is akin to a sommelier for beer.
While he knows about the art of creating beer, as a cicerone he will be working to acquire knowledge in five areas: keeping and serving beer, beer styles, beer flavor and evaluation, beer ingredients and brewing processes, and lastly pairing beer with food.
With each sip of his creations, we're reminded of the extraordinary possibilities that arise when passion, education, and innovation mutate together in a pint of finely