Rise and Fall of Anheuser Busch and America's Kings of Beer | William Knoedelseder | Talks at Google | Summary and Q&A

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April 16, 2013
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Rise and Fall of Anheuser Busch and America's Kings of Beer | William Knoedelseder | Talks at Google

TL;DR

"Bitter Brew" is a captivating exploration of America's most successful beer company, Anheuser-Busch, and the Busch family's colorful and sometimes outrageous history.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did Adolphus Busch transform the beer industry?

Adolphus Busch revolutionized the beer industry by pasteurizing and bottling his beer, allowing it to be shipped beyond the city limits. He also focused on vertical integration, buying into related businesses like bottling and railcar manufacturing.

Q: How did Anheuser-Busch survive Prohibition?

During Prohibition, Anheuser-Busch pivoted to manufacturing related products like malt-based soft drinks and ice cream. They also established a baking division and sold malt for the booming home brewery trade. This allowed them to continue operating and keep a large number of employees.

Q: What impact did Gussie Busch, Adolphus Busch's grandson, have on the company?

Gussie Busch was a colorful and charismatic figure who became the greatest beer salesman of his time. He introduced Clydesdales to America and associated the company with baseball. He also married beer and patriotism, leading to increased sales during difficult economic times.

Q: How did the tragic car accident involving Gussie Busch's children impact the company?

The car accident, which resulted in the death of Gussie's young daughter, Christina, and serious injuries to his son Andrew, had a profound effect on Gussie and the family. The tragedy led to a series of events that eventually changed the dynamics of the company and threatened its future.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • "Bitter Brew" tells the story of Anheuser-Busch, the successful beer company that was operated by the Busch family for over 150 years.

  • Adolphus Busch, the founder of Anheuser-Busch, revolutionized the industry by pasteurizing and bottling his beer for shipment across the country.

  • Prohibition dealt a heavy blow to the brewery, but they managed to survive by manufacturing related products and establishing a baking division. After Prohibition, the company soared, thanks to a patriotic advertising campaign and the introduction of Clydesdales and their association with baseball.

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