Friday, May 13, 2016

A good old American beer, part 2

Now that Budweiser is renaming its flagship beer “America” , it’s time to ask the question once again:

Which company is the largest American owned brewery?

If you‘ve been following this site for a while, you’ll know that it’s not Anheuser-Busch, Coors, or Miller.

It’s Yuengling, which passed the Boston Beer Company in 2012. A little more about its history can be found at the link below:

wasn’t Ying Ling the cook on the Bonanza show?

If you look carefully at the label on a Budweiser bottle, you’ll notice that it already DOES say “America” on the label. It’s in small print, but the same spot on the label also mentions Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia. The phrase “The Word Renowned” appears in larger letters to the left, but it’s probably not world renowned in the Czech Republic, where the ORIGINAL Budweiser was brewed in 1871. The Czech beer, incidentally, was sold in America FIVE years before Anheuser-Busch started selling its own Budweiser.

The new “America” beer label will contain references to “E pluribus Unum” (our unofficial motto until “In God we Trust” became our OFFICIAL motto in 1956), which will replace “King of Beers” on the label.

It will also include references to the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. Ironically, a lot of people today aren’t aware of the fact that the words “ In God We Trust” weren’t added to the pledge until 1954, nor are they aware of the fact that the words to “America the Beautiful” were written by a Massachusetts lesbian named Katharine Bates.

The Star Spangled Banner WAS penned by an American named Francis Scott Key, but his poem was paired to a British song popular with musicians in London,. Although the poem was written in 1814, the song did not become our national anthem until 1931.

Technically speaking, of course, Anheuser-Busch is no longer an American beer company, since it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Belgian-based Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2008. Since beer in Belgium has a LONG history, going all the way back to the 12th century, the new company is actually headquartered in the perfect country. Ironically, due to a a 1938 agreement between Anheuser-Busch and two Czech breweries, the only place where Anheuser-Busch can sell Budweiser beer is in North America.

Although the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser IS sold in a few other countries, its sales represent only 2% of international beer sales, which hardly makes it “world renown”. As recently as 2013, AB Inbev was trying to expand Budweiser sales to other countries, but has so far been unsuccessful.

Even though AB Inbev is a Belgium company, you can’t buy a bottle of Budweiser in Belgium. Somehow, that irony is fitting, since French fries originated in Belgium. It IS true that Brussels sprouts originated in Brussels, Belgium sometime in the 13th century, but Holland and Germany produce a lot more of them than does Belgium.

Arguably, Anheuser-Busch could still be considered an American brewing operation, since it operates 12 breweries, starting with the original brewery in St. Louis in 1852.

If you’re not a “macro brew” kind of guy, you may want to try some Redhook, Goose Island, Shock Top, or Kona. Bear in mind, though, that Anheuser-Busch owns somewhere between 35 and 100% of all of them.

I may buy a six pack of “America” beer when it comes out just for the novelty (after all, I DO need something to marinate the brats in), but if I actually intend to buy a beer to drink, it ain’t going to be Budweiser.

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