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Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch)

Budweiser is an American-style lager and is one of the most popular beers in the United States. Budweiser is made with a proportion of rice in addition to barley malt, for which it has received some criticism, though the company takes the position that the rice gives the beer a lighter taste. Budweiser is produced in various breweries located around the United States and the rest of the world. It is a filtered beer available in draught and packaged forms. It has 5.0% alcohol by volume and 145 calories per 12 oz., except in Utah, Kansas, Minnesota and Oklahoma where a 3.2% alcohol by weight (4.0% by volume) strength is available due to state laws. Minnesota and Colorado require 3.2% alcohol by weight beer only at select public events and beer being sold in grocery stores and gas stations.

Name origin and dispute

The name derives from the Bohemian city Budweis (Budweiser meaning "from Budweis" in the German language), which was part of the German HRE until 1806, then Austrian Empire until 1918, then Czechoslovakia until 1993, then Czech Republic (since 1920 using Czech name České Budějovice). The long tradition of brewing beer in Budweis started in 1265. In 1795, the German citizens founded a brewery named Budweiser Bier Bürgerbräu. In 1895, Czech brewers followed, founding the brewery called Budějovický Budvar.

In 1876, an Italian immigrant started to brew and sell a brand of beer he called "Budweiser Beer" in the United States. During the ensuing Budweiser trademark dispute, the original Bohemian breweries have been able to protect their rights in most of the several court cases that have been brought. Because of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Convention, geographic names like Budweiser are protected and, therefore, in many countries, Anheuser-Busch has to market its beer under various other trademarks, such as "Anheuser-Busch Bud", while the now Czech breweries have to use alternative names when selling to the U.S.

Market share

Anheuser-Busch has a market share in the United States of 50.9% for all beers sold. This is primarily composed of Budweiser brands. In 2008 Budweiser/Anheuser-Busch sold the majority of their stock to Belgian beer giant InBev, to create the largest brewing company in the world. The company's 2005 annual report cites figures which demonstrate Budweiser brands are proving to be quite successful in three markets outside of the U.S.:

  • in the People's Republic of China, where Anheuser-Busch has had a brewery in Wuhan since 1995, 3.4 million barrels of Budweiser were brewed in 2005.
  • in Canada, where Labatt Brewing Company brews and packages Budweiser and Bud Light for the Canadian market; Budweiser is one of the country's most popular bottled beers behind Molson and Labatt.

Budweiser is also widely available in Mexico due to Anheuser-Busch's half-ownership of Grupo Modelo, through which Budweiser and Bud Light (introduced in 1982) are distributed. In Ireland, Budweiser is one of the leading lager brands; it is brewed, marketed, and sold by Guinness. Budweiser is also available in Italy, UK, Brazil, Argentina, Finland, Germany, Panama, Paraguay, Japan, India and Russia because of partnerships Anheuser-Busch has with major brewers there.

Budweiser is under the name "Bud" also available in Belgium and is imported by Corsendonk breweries and is distributed by Carrefour, the second largest retailer in the world.

Budweiser was recently launched in India, where it's slowly gaining market share by being a much-sought after alternative to the leading Kingfisher, Fosters and Royal Challenge.

Marketing

Budweiser is one of the major breweries that emphasize humorous advertising campaigns, such as the "Real Men of Genius" radio commercials for Bud Light, recently moved to television. The spots feature an over-the-top, 1980s-style rock ballad sung by Dave Bickler, the former lead singer of "Survivor", describing ordinary activities as if they were heroic. The campaign originally was called "Real American Heroes," but the name was changed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Some Bud advertising campaigns have entered the popular culture in the United States. They include a long line of TV advertisements in the 1990s featuring three frogs named "Bud", "Weis", and "Er", and a campaign built around the phrase "Whassup?". The company is known for its sports sponsorships, video game sponsorship (Tapper), and (often) humorous advertisements. Advertising campaigns have also included a nude Ganymede grasping a beer bottle and borne aloft by a bald eagle, lizards impersonating the "Bud-weis-er" frogs, and a team of Clydesdale horses commonly known as the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Budweiser has a vast presence in motorsports; Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser hydroplane boat, sponsoring the Budweiser King Top Fuel Dragster driven by Brandon Bernstein. Budweiser has been a sponsor of Brandon and Kenny Bernstein for the last 27 years. Bobby Rahal won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and 1986-1987 CART championships sponsored by Budweiser. Budweiser is the official beer of NHRA and was the official beer of NASCAR until 2007. Budweiser has sponsored top NASCAR teams such as Junior Johnson (including Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, Geoff Bodine, and Bill Elliott), Hendrick Motorsports (including Ken Schrader, Ricky Craven and Wally Dallenbach, Jr.), and perhaps most notably DEI driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. from 1999-2007. In 2008, Budweiser will become Kasey Kahne's primary sponsor, and will split some races with Allstate. Budweiser has also sponsored many races, including the Budweiser Shootout, and previously The Bud at the Glen, Budweiser 500, and Budweiser 400.

Even in the early 20th century, the company was marketing through popular music; the company commissioned a play-on-words number called Under the Anheuser Bush, which was recorded by several early phonograph companies. Currently, some of their commercials feature the song "Galvanize", by The Chemical Brothers. In the last few years, a number of humorous advertisements for Bud Light have been shown on television. Some of the company theme songs, particularly "Here Comes the King", have been referenced by Budweiser TV commercials for many years.

Budweiser is an official partner and sponsor of Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer franchise, and was the headline sponsor of the British Basketball League in the 1990s, taking over from rival company Carlsberg. Budweiser is also an official sponsor of the English Premier League.

The 2005 Hong Kong film Drink-Drank-Drunk heavily featured Budweiser product placement, with the main character Siu Min working as a logo-jacketed beer maid.

Bottle

The Budweiser bottle has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in 1876. The top label is red and currently reads "Budweiser". The top of the main label is red with a white banner with a pledge on it, which has changed three times. Below the banner is a coat of arms of sorts, which once had the Conrad and Co. logo on it, and now features an Anheuser-Busch stylization. Below that is a large white box. In this box the words "Budweiser Lager (King of) Beer(s) Brewed by our original (all natural) (Budweiser) process from the Choicest Hops, Rice, and Best Barley (Malt)" (words in parentheses have been added or removed over time). Because of Budweiser's "King of Beers" mantra, Bud Light is sometimes known as the "Prince of Beers" or simply "The Prince" to consumers.

The words "Anheuser Busch" and "St. Louis Mo" appear in this box as well.

Era Pledge Logo Beer title Top label
1870s 1 C. Conrad and Co. Budweiser Lager Beer Original Budweiser
Early 1900s 2 C. Conrad and Co. Budweiser Lager Beer Budweiser Reg U.S. Pat Off
1920s 3 Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Anheuser-Busch Budweiser St. Louis
1940s 2 Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Lager Beer Budweiser Beer
1950s 4 Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Lager Beer Budweiser Lager Beer
1970s 4 Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Lager Beer Budweiser
1980s 4 Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Lager Beer Budweiser
Today 4 Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Lager Beer Budweiser

Containers and packaging

Over the years, Budweiser has been distributed in many sizes and containers. Through the early-1950s Budweiser was primarily distributed in just three packages -- kegs, 12-ounce bottles and quart bottles. Cans were first introduced in 1936. From 1936 to 1955, cans were slow to catch on. In 1955, August Busch Jr. made the strategic move to expand Budweiser's national brand and distributor presence. Along with this expansion came advances in bottling automation, new bottling materials and more efficient distribution methods. These advances have brought to market many new containers and package designs. Presently, Budweiser is distributed in three large container volumes -- 1/2 keg, 1/4 keg, and beer ball. In smaller consumption volumes, Budweiser is distributed in 8-, 10-, 12-, 16-, 22-, 24-, 32- and 40-ounce containers. Smaller consumption containers vary in materials with Budweiser offering glass bottles, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and new-form aluminum bottles.

Package considerations are sometimes tailored to local customs and traditions. Local distributors may stock certain sizes based upon these regional customs. In St. Mary's County, Maryland, 10-ounce cans are the preferred package. Chicagoans widely prefer the 16-ounce can. Budweiser drinkers in the western stretches of Ottawa County, Michigan prefer the 8-ounce aluminum can. This Ottawa County preference for the 8-ounce can may stem from a long-standing blue law held in many Western Michigan cities that prohibit sale of beer and wine on Sundays. In response to this blue law, brewers and distributors presented the 8-ounce can as a smaller alternative with the aim at paring back the blue laws for alcohol served in lesser volume.

Budweiser has introduced many can designs with co-branding and sports marketing promotional packaging. Today, most of these promotional programs are represented only in the 16-ounce aluminum bottle container; however, many major league baseball and NFL teams also promote 24-ounce cans marked with team logos.

Slogans

The original Budweiser pledge reads:

"We guarantee that this beer is brewed especially for our own trade according to the Budweiser process of choicest hops, best barley and rice. This beer is brewed in St. Louis and warranted to keep in any climate. Take notice that all crowns are branded with our trade-mark."
The last sentence was altered slightly in the early 1900s to read:
"Take notice that all crowns bear our trade-mark."

It was altered again, albeit briefly, to read as follows:

"We guarantee that this beverage is healthful, refreshing, nutritious, free from bacteria, fully matured and aged, will keep in any climate, and fermented in St. Louis. Take note that all crowns bear our 'A' and

'Eagle' trade mark."

This pledge was reverted to the second pledge after only a few years.

An early post-Prohibition version of the label (containing U.S. Permit number MO-U-900) reads:

"We guarantee that this beer is brewed especially for our own trade according to the Budweiser process of choicest Cereals and Hops."

The current pledge was placed on the bottle some time around the end of the Second World War. It reads:

"This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age. Our exclusive Beechwood Aging produces a taste, a smoothness and a drinkability you will find in no other beer at any price."

Beer

Budweiser is brewed using rice, barley malt, water, hops and yeast. It is lagered with beechwood chips in the aging vessel which, according to Budweiser, creates a smoother taste. Rice will produce a "clean finish." Anheuser-Busch was also one of the few breweries during Prohibition that had the resources and wherewithal to convert to "cereal beer" production -- malt beverage made with non-fermentables such as rice and unmalted barley and rye, and able to stay under the 0.5% limit established by the Volstead Act. Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the major breweries continued to use unmalted cereal grains to provide the full body and mouthfeel of a "real" beer while keeping the alcohol content low. Budweiser and Bud Light are sometimes advertised as vegan beers, in that their ingredients and conditioning do not use animal by-products. However, few beers contain animal by-products, and some vegans might object to the inclusion of genetically engineered rice.. Recently, however, Budweiser destined for Mexico has been made with organic rice. A-B has yet to extend this offer to any other countries.

While beechwood chips are used in the maturation tank, there is little to no flavor contribution from the wood, mainly because they are boiled in sodium bicarbonate [baking soda] for seven hours for the very purpose of removing any flavor from the wood. The maturation tanks (A-B call them chip tanks) that Anheuser-Busch utilizes are horizontal and, as such, flocculation of the yeast occurs much more quickly. Anheuser-Busch refers to this process as a secondary fermentation, with the idea being that the chips give the yeast more surface area to rest on. This is also combined with a krausening procedure that re-introduces wort into the chip tank therefore activating the fermentation process again. By placing chips at the bottom of the tank, the yeast remains in suspension longer, giving it more time to reabsorb and process green beer flavors, such as acetaldehyde and diacetyl, that Anheuser-Busch believes are off-flavors which detract from overall drinkability.

While some drinkers prefer the lightness of beers like Budweiser and consume it as a refreshment or for its inebriating effects, most beer writers consider it to be bland. The beer is light-bodied with faint sweet notes and negligible bitterness, leading to reviews characterising it as a "...beer of underwhelming blandness".

Baseball broadcaster Harry Caray, who worked for the St. Louis Cardinals and later the Chicago Cubs, always championed the taste of Budweiser, even after he had been fired by the Busch company, which then owned the Cardinals. He said in interviews (such as a special that was produced by WGN-TV in the early 1990s) that he touted Bud because he thought it had the best flavor of any American beer.

Budweiser brands

In addition to the regular Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch brews several different beers under the Budweiser brand, including:

Bud

Available in Europe. See Budweiser trademark dispute.

Bud Light

Introduced nationally in 1982 as "Budweiser Light", Bud Light is a 4.2% ABV pale lager with 110 calories.

Budweiser Select

Budweiser Select, or Bud Select, is a 4.3% ABV pale lager that contains 99 calories and 3.1 grams of carbohydrates. Anheuser-Busch has taken an intensive approach to the promotion of Budweiser Select. They have recently hired New York rapper Jay-Z as a spokesman for the brand. It is also featured alongside Budweiser and Bud Light in most of the family advertisements and point-of-sale material. It is advertised under the tag lines "Step up to Select" and "The Real Deal".

Bud Ice

Introduced in 1994 as "Ice by Budweiser," it is more alcoholic (5.5% ABV) than Budweiser. The height of its popularity came in the mid-90's alongside an advertising campaign that involved a malevolent penguin that stalked Bud Ice drinkers and stole their beer while singing his signature song of "Dooby-dooby-doo"... a play off of the first five notes to the song "Strangers in the Night".

Bud Ice Light

Introduced in 1994, Bud Ice Light contains less alcohol than Bud Light (4.1% ABV).

Budweiser Brew Masters' Private Reserve

Budweiser Brew Masters' Private Reserve is an all-malt lager with a honey color and robust taste. It is based on a Budweiser brewmaster holiday tradition of collecting the richest part of the brew as it is tapped to the brew kettles to toast the holiday season. At 8.5 ABV, every year they release a different style. 2007's edition is a doppelbock.

Bud Dry

Bud Dry was introduced nationally in the U.S. in April 1990 with the slogan of "Why ask why? Try Bud Dry." It was originally successful in test markets and was expected to be a popular beer with the rise in light lager popularity. However, with the introduction of Bud Ice in 1994, Bud Dry was bumped from the top three beers in terms of marketing. It has declined in mainstream popularity and no longer receives commercial attention. Bud Dry is now rarely seen in stores and bars where it was once well-known.

Bud Silver

An attempt to appeal to the tastes of beer drinkers in the United Kingdom, this specially brewed beer contains 4.1% alcohol by volume.

Bud Extra

A beer with caffeine, ginseng, guarana and alcohol. It contains 6.6% ABV as indicated on the label. It's being marketed as a caffeinated malt beverage. On June 26, 2008, Anheuser-Busch announced that it would remove the caffeine and guarana from the beverage in response to concerns that the product was being marketed to consumers under the age of 21.

Budweiser/Bud Light Chelada

A blend of Budweiser or Bud Light and Clamato. This beverage became available nationally in late 2007 due to overwhelming popularity during test marketing.

Budweiser American Ale

Advertised national debut in September 2008. The beer claims to be in a new class of ale known as the "American Ale" (seemingly in comparison to popular, international ale styles such as India Pale Ale or domestic ale styles such as American Pale Ale in terms of being a category of ale) that offers complex taste without much bitterness.

Budweiser NA

Non-alcoholic version of Budweiser developed for the Middle Eastern market. Also available in Green Apple and Tropical Fruits versions.

Bud Light Lime

A twist on the classic Bud Light, this most recent offering in the line advertises premium light beer with "100% natural lime flavor. It is 4.2% ABV with 116 calories.

Budweiser in the news

  • A-B Inc. has recently joined with Budvar to be the sole distributor of Budweiser Budvar throughout the U.S. This, however, does not negate the ongoing lawsuits between the companies.
  • During the 2006 World Cup, approximately 1000 Dutch soccer fans were forced to remove their leeuwenhosen in order to gain access to the stadium. The pants had the name of a competing beer (Bavaria) printed on them. FIFA made the decision in order to secure the right of Budweiser, the official sponsor, to advertise exclusively and to prevent ambush marketing by non-sponsors.
  • Anheuser Busch on May 7, 2006 joined with Vita Food Products to produce a line of barbecue, wing and basting sauces.

See also

References

External links

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