If you’ve been handed a beer within the last 50 years, it was most likely brewed, bottled, and distributed by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the most American brewery on planet earth and the owner of almost half of the brewing industry in the United States according to Forbes. Natural Light, Bud Light, Budweiser, Michelob, Rolling Rock, Busch Light, and Shock Top are a few of the popular brands owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. All proceeds go to the heirs of the original beer wizards as well as toward the other daily expenses that come with being responsible for a product that impacts so many lives.
The story of Anheuser-Busch? It’s one of trials, tribulations, and red-blooded American perseverance. We have them to thank for almost every beer-filled night we’ve ever had. And the Germans; we have the Germans to thank for immigrating here and introducing the United States to the only kind of beer that really matters: the lager.
In the late 1840s, Eberhard Anheuser — the co-founder of Anheuser-Busch — decided to tap into the beer industry with no experience whatsoever. On Anheuser-Busch’s website, it says he, “…trained as a soap manufacturer, eventually going on to own the largest soap and candle company in St. Louis.”
Eberhard was going uber-hard in the smell-good industry until his German genetics manifested, causing Anheuser to purchase the Bavarian Brewery in St. Louis. The website doesn’t give much information as to why he decided to buy a brewery, but I think “because he was German as fuck” is probably an accurate explanation.
While Eberhard Anheuser was preparing to set foot in the Billionaire Boys Club, a young man named Adolphus Busch was about to become a juggernaut in the brewing industry all because he thought with his dick and it actually led to something good. He had been dabbling in the beer business, which lead him to Mr. Anheuser and his dime of a daughter, Lilly. Adolphus locked that pussy down, got in good with Daddy, went to work for Daddy, and bought half of the brewing company from Daddy, officially establishing Anheuser-Busch.
The goal was lofty at this point: create the first beer to be sold on a national level. The beer would have to appeal to the masses, stand the test of time, be satisfying, filling but not too filling, provide the correct level of control over your buzz, quench your thirst, and have you reaching for the next one before you down the last gulp of the first one. Carl Conrad, a friend of Busch and the only person involved with a real-sounding name, worked alongside Busch to develop a beer that does all that and more. The company’s flagship product, “Budweiser,” was launched in 1876, and the U.S.A. started building the foundation of the world beer industry.
All of this occurred before Prohibition, which struck in 1920. More than half of the breweries at that time went out of business. This was a huge crossroads for Anheuser-Busch. Instead of closing their doors, they diversified their product like their lives depended on it (because their lives depended on it) and sold ice cream, soda, car parts(?), and, unsurprisingly, non-alcoholic beer. This “near beer” was the most popular of its kind, because even if it’s fake, beer is better when it’s American-made.
The end of Prohibition happened in the middle of The Great Depression. Obviously this was a bittersweet period in the Anheuser-Busch story, but the company pressed on, and had the power of the newly-invented metal can to punch them through the worst economic era the world had ever seen. They rode out the depths of economic despair, and all the way to WWII, on a cylinder made of aluminum. Then, as I’m sure you know, WWII ended up being the Viagra the United States needed to start slinging economic dick again.
In the 1950s, Anheuser-Busch sent their sales through the stratosphere — they went from 3 million barrels of beer sold to over 34 million barrels. By 1957, the company took its rightful spot at the top of the beer industry, and it hasn’t moved since.
Between then and now, Anheuser-Busch has released or purchased countless best-selling beer brands. In 2008, they merged with a company named InBev. Because of that deal, Anheuser-Busch InBev is now the largest brewer in the world. Take that, China. How’s it feel to not lead the world in one area of manufacturing? I’m sure it’s a hard truth to avoid, just like it’s hard to avoid consuming an AB InBev product in any situation that involves cracking open a cold one. For that, I think it’s important for us to give respect where respect is due. Thank you for the good times and the good times to come, Anheuser-Busch InBev..
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