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.
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.
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 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 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|
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.
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' andThis pledge was reverted to the second pledge after only a few years.
'Eagle' trade mark."
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."
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.
Non-alcoholic version of Budweiser developed for the Middle Eastern market. Also available in Green Apple and Tropical Fruits versions.