Mom, baseball, and apple pie might just be the only things more American than Budweiser beer. Except Bud’s not — American, that is. Though the logo of the number-one-selling beer in the U.S. remains burned into our national psyche, Anheuser-Busch is now a wholly owned subsidiary, bought out in a 2008 hostile takeover by the Belgian-Brazilian company InBev. In his book Bitter Brew ($17), author William Knoedelseder details the ascent, reign and fall of the five-generation American dynasty that built Anheuser-Busch from a small St. Louis, Missouri brewery to the darling of Super Bowl commercials and the favorite suds of millions of beer drinkers.
The company’s beginnings are poetic: the marriage of Adolphus Busch to Eberhard Anheuser’s daughter began a grand partnership that propelled the company, and the popular pilsner, to the fore of beer-swilling. The end: a tragedy punctuated by betrayal, madness, and death worthy of Shakespeare. Read it as American history, or as American horror story; either way, enjoy it with your favorite frosty (American) beverage.
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