Did you know that one of every two beers consumed in America is made by Anheuser-Busch?Neither did we before today.
Anheuser-Busch is the largest brewing company in the U.S. with a market share of 49.2%. The company operates 12 breweries in the U.S. and nearly 20 in other countries. Brands include Budweiser, Busch, Michelob, Bud Light, and Natural Light.
Eberhard Anheuser, a German-born soap and candle maker, moved to America in 1842. He was a major creditor of the Bavarian Brewery Company, a struggling St. Louis brewery founded in 1853. The company encountered financial difficulty in 1860. Anheuser purchased other creditors’' interests and took it over, renaming it E. Anheuser and Co.
Adolphus Busch immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1857. Busch worked as a clerk on the riverfront in St. Louis and later formed a successful brewery supply company. Anheuser met and introduced Busch to his daughter, Lilly, who married him shortly afterwards. In 1864, Busch joined his father-in-law's brewery as a salesman and purchased half ownership in the brewery in 1869.
In 1876, Busch and Carl Conrad, a liquor importer, developed a “Bohemian-style” lager, after a trip to Bohemia (today's Czech Republic). Busch and Conrad visited Budweis, a town known for its breweries since its founding in 1245 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia. The beer brewed there, Budweiser, was called “The Beer of Kings” since the 16th century.
Brewers usually named a beer after their town with the suffix “er” added. For example, beers produced in the town of Pilsen were called Pilsners meaning “of Pilsen.”In most European countries, the name Budweiser refers to the original Czech beer, Budweiser. American Budweiser is not labeled as such, but is called Bud. An exception is in the UK, where both beers are sold as Budweiser.
Pilsner and Budweiser are locatives, meaning “of a place” in this case, Pilsen and Budweis.
The U.S. brewed Budweiser became “The King of Beers” when Busch changed the “Beer of Kings” name. The Czech Budweiser is sold in some countries as Budejovicky Budvar, but is known as Budweiser in many countries throughout the world. The company became Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association in 1879. Busch was named president in 1880, continued for 33 years and is considered the company founder.
The Budweiser Clydesdales are a group of Clydesdale horses used for promotions and commercials. The Clydesdale is a breed of draught horse (UK) or draft horse (U.S.) originating from farm horses of Clydesdale, Scotland and named after that region. A draught or draft horse (work or heavy horse) is a large horse bred for hard, heavy farm tasks like plowing.
The Merrimack, NH stables had 6 Clydesdales, team horses are always male. There are six "hitches" or teams of horses, five travel around the U.S. and one remains in their official home at the Anheuser-Busch headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. This stable and courtyard, modeled after an 18th-century German Bauernhof (farm-barn) are home base for the traveling East Coast Clydesdales. These horses are very well cared for and were being groomed during our visit. This room in the stables contained a display of beer wagons used in parades.
Our tour – and the samplings – were free, but for true beer aficionados, there's the Anheuser-Busch Merrimack brewery – Beermaster Tour – $25 each by reservation only. It’s termed “a unique opportunity to experience a “behind-the-scenes look at the brewing of Budweiser” with a visit to the Brew House, Hop Room, Primary Fermentation Cellar, Lager Cellar, Packaging Facility, Quality Assurance, and Finishing Cellar. And the tour highlight – sampling directly from a Finishing Tank.
For us, the free tour was sufficient and so were the 2 free beers, which by the way were – per person – and free pretzels too.