Historic Beer Birthday: Lilly Anheuser

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Today is the birthday of Lilly Anheuser (August 13, 1844-February 25, 1928). She was born in Mainz-Bingener Landkreis, in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, one of three daughters of Eberhard Anheuser. Eberhard was originally a soap and candle maker, but had had also invested in the Bavarian Brewery Company, in St. Louis, Missouri. When it went through financial troubles in 1860, he took over control of it, buying out the other creditors, and renaming it Eberhard Anheuser and Company. “Lilly married Adolphus Busch, a brewery supply salesman, in a double wedding with Anna Anheuser (Lilly’s older sister) and Ulrich Busch (Adolphus’ brother) in 1861.” Her husband was running the brewery even before her father died in 1880, and the year before, 1879, the corporation was renamed the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association to reflect the reality of Busch’s leadership role.

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Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:

Lilly was one of six children of Eberhard and Dorothea Anheuser. She and her family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for a time before moving to St Louis, Missouri.

Lilly, who was blonde and called “curly Head” was courted by and married to Adolphus Busch, who sold brewery supplies at the time, to her father at the E. Anheuser Brewing Company. She was married to Adolphus in a double wedding; her sister Anna married Ulrich Busch on March 11, 1861. Anna was dark and known for her sophistication.
Lilly was the mother of thirteen children. Nine lived to adulthood. Along with her social life, Lilly cooked for her husband and to an extent remained a “house wife.”

With the success of the Brewery, She and her husband and children traveled extensively. They owned Villas in Germany. Both were confiscated by Hitler. They traveled by private train car. A favorite group of homes for them was Ivy Wall, and The Blossoms, Busch Gardens in Pasadena,CA. They had an estate in Cooperstown, NY, and Germany.

Upon reaching their fiftieth wedding anniversary, Lilly and Adolphus presented a home to each of their children.
One was given a French chateau manner on a farm near St. Louis once owned by General U.S. Grant. It is now known as Grant’s Farm and is open to the public. Other Children were given homes in St Louis, New York, Berlin, Germany, Chicago,IL,and Stuttgart, Germany.

It was reported Lilly was given a gold Crown by her husband to commemorate their golden Anniversary. Amidst the celebration was sadness because the health of her husband was failing. He passed away at Villa Lilly, in Germany with Lilly at his side.

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The Anheuser-Busch website gives this account:

Eberhard Anheuser, who left Germany in 1843, settling first in Cincinnati and before moving to St. Louis. Trained as a soap manufacturer, he eventually went on to own the largest soap and candle company in St. Louis. Although he had no brewing experience, he became part owner of the Bavarian Brewery, which had first opened its doors in 1852. By 1860, Anheuser had bought out the other investors and the brewery’s name was changed to E. Anheuser & Co.

Adolphus Busch was born in 1839, the second youngest of 22 children. At age 18, he made his way to St. Louis via New Orleans and the Mississippi River. Adolphus began working as a clerk on the riverfront and by the time he was 21, he had a partnership in a brewing supply business.

It was through this enterprise that Adolphus Busch met Eberhard Anheuser, and soon Adolphus was introduced to Eberhard’s daughter, Lilly. In 1861, Adolphus Busch and Lilly Anheuser were married, and shortly after that, Adolphus went to work for his father-in-law. He later purchased half ownership in the brewery, becoming a partner.

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Lilly Anheuser later in life.

In 1897, famed Swedish artist Anders Zorn painted portraits of Lilly Anheuser and her husband Adolphus Busch. They were recently sold through the auction house Christie’s. The winning bid for Busch’s portrait was $207,750 and Lilly’s went for $123,750.

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A portrait of Lily Anheuser, painted by Anders Zorn in 1897.

Beer Birthday: George Reisch

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Today is the 59th birthday of George Reisch, who recently retired as the brewmaster of Anheuser-Busch. George had worked for A-B since 1979, but his family roots in brewing run far deeper. His great-great-great-grandfather Franz Sales Reisch founded the Reisch Brewing Co. in 1849, in the city of Springfield, Illinois, which operated until 1966. I have had the pleasure of judging at both GABF and the World Beer Cup over the years with George, and he’s an amazing person. Join me wishing George a very happy birthday.

Lester Jones, of the Beer Institute & George Reisch, of Anheuser-Busch @ GABF Saturday
Lester Jones, currently with the NBWA, and George at GABF in 2009.

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George drinking a beer behind a beautiful skyline and rocking his medal (the one they give you in Belgium when the Brewer’s Guild there knights you).

Patent No. 1767646A: Process For Manufacturing Yeast

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Today in 1930, US Patent 1767646 A was issued, an invention of George S. Bratton, assigned to Anheuser-Busch, for his “Process For Manufacturing Yeast.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to the manufacture of yeast, and particularly, to processes of the kind which contemplate initiating propagation of yeast in a dilute Wort, and thereafter adding or feeding into same a highly concentrated Wort .that contains yeast nourishing materials.

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Historic Beer Birthday: August A. Busch III

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Today is the birthday of August Anheuser Busch III (June 16, 1937- ) He is the great-grandson of Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch and was the company’s Chairman until November 30, 2006. August Busch III is informally known as “Auggie” and as “The Third” or “Three Sticks” by subordinates and employees at Anheuser-Busch. I’d actually heard “Triple Sticks” as a nickname.

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Here’s some biographical information from his Wikipedia page:

August Anheuser Busch III was born in St. Louis, Missouri on June 16, 1937. He attended the University of Arizona, but dropped out after failing. His father then gave him an ultimatum, and he began working in an entry-level position in Anheuser Busch.

August Busch III served as President of the Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. (ABC) from 1974 until June 2002, and Chief Executive Officer of ABC from 1975 until June 2002. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABC from 1977 to 2006.

He was succeeded as the day-to-day operational head of Anheuser-Busch by Patrick Stokes. Stokes’ tenure marked the first time in the history of the company that a non-Busch family member ran the day-to-day operations. Busch also conferred the chairmanship to Stokes effective December 1, 2006. He retired from their executive functions at the company on November 30, 2006. He will continue to serve on Anheuser-Busch’s board.

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August A. Busch III, when he was President of Anheuser-Busch, February 1974.

He has been married twice. His first wife, Susan, is the mother of his two older children August Anheuser Busch IV and Susan Busch-Transou. His second wife, Virginia, who is a practicing attorney, is the mother of his younger two children, Steven Busch and Virginia “Ginny” Busch.

Unlike his father Gussie Busch, August III has been a lifelong supporter of the Republican Party, and a friend, ally, and financial supporter to Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and President George W. Bush. August III’s eldest son, August A. Busch IV, is a strong supporter of Democratic Party politics, just like his grandfather Gussie.

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Lou Rawls and Frank Sinatra sharing Budweisers with Triple Sticks in 1982.

Margaret Bourke-White Photographs Of The Busch Family

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Today is the birthday of Margaret Bourke-White (June 14, 1904-August 27, 1971). She “was an American photographer and documentary photographer. She is best known as the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of Soviet industry, the firsthand American female war photojournalist, and the first female photographer for Henry Luce’s Life magazine, where her photograph appeared on the first cover. She died of Parkinson’s disease about eighteen years after she developed her first symptoms.”

The International Photography Hall of Fame also has a good overview of her life, and so does the Encyclopedia Britannica. She was an amazing photographer, and many of her photos are iconic views of the 20th century. She was frequently featured in Life magazine, such as a series of photographs she took for the May 1955 issue, to accompany an article on “what the magazine called “the liveliest, lustiest family dynasty” in America: the Busch clan.” Here’s a portion of the text from that article:

In 1865 [LIFE wrote] a German immigrant named Adolphus Busch took over a small, failing brewery in St. Louis. In the decades since, the brewery has become the largest in the world, last year selling over 719 million foamy quarts of beer. In that same period period the Missouri family Busch has become just about the liveliest, lustiest family dynasty in the country.

Today the chief executive of Anheuser-Busch Inc., and in consequence the head of the sprawling family, is Adolphus’ grandson, a gregarious, impulsive, hoarse-voiced, 56-year-old extrovert name August Anheuser Busch jr., who is hardly ever called anything but Gussie. Gussie and the other present members of the family have lost little of the fierce, competitive genius with which their predecessors kept he world of hops hopping. And unlike the later generations of some robust business families, they have not noticeably slid into the sedentary or intellectual pleasures of wealth. They continue to love the outdoors, fine horses, huge houses full of hunting trophies, big families, roaring parties and beery choruses of “Im Wald and auf der Heide.”

The baronial splendor amid which Gussie lives with his handsome wife and their children prompts St. Louisans to say the Busches really live like German merchant princes of an earlier age. But their way of life adds a memorably exuberant and expansive segment to the American scene.

Here are a few of the photographs that Margaret Bourke-White took of the Busch family, along with the original captions from the 1955 Life article, if there was one. Some of the photographs taken by Bourke-White were not included in the article. If you want to see the rest of her photos from that session, by all means check out House of Suds: Portrait of the Busch Beer Dynasty at Play on Time’s archives.

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Anheuser Busch heir August (Gussie) Busch Jr. and wife Trudy in the trophy-filled gun room of their mansion, Grant’s Farm, with their children Beatrice Alice and Adolphus Busch IV.

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Out for the daily ride, Trudy astride Happy Landing and Gussie on Miss Budweiser amble across the lawn of the 34-room brick mansion Gussie’s father erected in 1911.

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Singing at Schlachtfest, Gussie sits with guest, Mrs. Charles Thomas, wearing chef’s hat and apron which his male guests received.

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There’s no caption for this one, but I’d sure like to know what the hell’s going on in this one. A Schlachtfest, according to Wikipedia, “is the German term for the ritual or ceremonial slaughter of an animal, which is often followed by feast. Today, it usually refers to the practice in many parts of Germany, such as the Palatinate, for a celebration or festival involving the ceremonial slaughter of a pig reared or bought by a private household or an inn for that purpose.”

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Paul Victor von Gontard, general manager of San Fernando Valley brewery, sniffing hops.

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Toast to their master and mistress is drunk in champagne at annual gathering of 20 Grant’s Farm workers, who just received envelopes containing their annual bonus. In dark jacket at left is zookeeper Frank Parko and alongside him are stablemen, grounds keepers. Butler and cook are at right.

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Patent No. 2936100A: Dispenser For Carbonated Beverages

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Today in 1960, US Patent 2936100 A was issued, an invention of Victor H. Chatten, assigned to Anheuser-Busch, for his “Dispenser For Carbonated Beverages.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to apparatus for dispensing a gas-charged liquid from a container and is particularly directed to apparatus for dispensing a carbonated beverage, for example, beer, from a conventional keg.

It is the principal object of this invention to provide an insert member which can be introduced into the interior of the container through an opening therein which member includes a cavity containing liquified gas under pressure and which member also contains a regulator device for introducing gas from the cavity into the container, the action of the regulator being controlled from a member accessible exteriorly of the container. Another object is to provide dispensing apparatus of this type in which the insert member includes a passage for delivery of fluid from the interior of the container. A more detailed object is to provide dispensing apparatus of this type in which means accessible exteriorly of the container are provided to control flow of gas from the cavity to the interior of the container and also to control flow of liquid from the interior of the container.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Carl W. Conrad

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Today is the birthday of Carl W. Conrad (April 1, 1843- October 26, 1922) Conrad’s widely believed to be the person who created the name Budweiser, and was a friend of Adolphus Busch, whose brewery did a contract beer for Conrad, which was marketed as Budweiser, but which later became the property of Anheuser-Busch.

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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Conrad, a good friend of Adolphus Busch, is usually credited with helping to develop the recipe for Budweiser beer. The brand name was first registered in the U.S. by Conrad, an importer of wines, champagnes & liquors. The Anheuser brewery produced the brand for him under contract. C. Conrad & Company had offices in Germany & in St. Louis & Adolphus got the rights to Budweiser when Conrad’s company went bankrupt in 1882. To pay off Conrad’s debts to the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association, the brewery assumed control of Conrad’s company & the brand name Budweiser. Conrad was given a lifetime job with Anheuser-Busch.

Anheuser-Busch’s own website spins the story differently than most accounts, with Busch taking credit for the Budweiser name:

In 1876, he and his friend, Carl Conrad, created an American-style lager beer that succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. Adolphus coined the label “Budweiser”, a name that would appeal to German immigrants like himself, yet could be easily pronounced by Americans. Budweiser was a success and eventually, became the company’s flagship brand.

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A Budweiser label in 1876.

Maureen Ogle, a friend, and the author of Ambitious Brew, wrote about Conrad and the creation of Budweiser in an article in a 2006 article for All About Beer magazine entitled Making Beer American: How Bohemian Lager Swept the Country:

But in 1874 or 1875 (the precise date is not known), Busch and Sproule developed a second rice beer, this one for Busch’s friend Carl Conrad, a St. Louis importer of wine and liquor. Conrad was no brewer but he knew a profitable market trend when he saw one and he contracted with Busch to create and brew a “very pale, fine beer” that Conrad would bottle and sell under his own label.

Conrad wanted the beer to stand out in an increasingly crowded field of Pilseners, so he asked his friend to model the lager after the pilsener brewed in Budweis (Ceské Budejovice), an ancient Bohemian city where an “official” court brewery produced the “Beer of Kings,” a slogan Busch would later invert. Budweis brewers used Saaz hops and Moravian barley, but they employed a slightly different mashing method than did makers of Pilsener, and the resulting beer was a shade lighter in color and slightly more effervescent than its Pils counterpart. Neither Busch nor Conrad had been to Budweis, but they had visited Bohemia and tasted Budweis beer in other European cities. Conrad claimed that Budweis-style lager “was always the finest Beer [he] could get in Europe,” and that the “Budweiser process [made] the finest Beer.”

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As she notes, it was Conrad who came up with the name:

The final result, which Conrad named after its place of origin, was a masterpiece of brewing prowess. Budweiser is “fine and elegant,” Conrad boasted. It “sparkles” and “has a very pretty flavor.” It’s not clear what his original label looked like, but the man who designed Conrad’s second label claimed that it included the word “champagne.” That would not be surprising because effervescent Budweiser looked more like Champagne than it looked like other beers, a comparison that Conrad fostered by corking the lager in Champagne bottles.

Conrad and Busch launched the lager by hitting the road. The two friends traveled around Missouri and to Arkansas and Texas talking up the beer and hunting for reliable sales representatives. Conrad also invested three thousand dollars outfitting a “fine place” in San Francisco “where people could find [his] beer.” He sold most of it to California but also shipped it to Chicago, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Louisville, and cities in Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and Alabama.

From the moment of its first public appearance in March 1876, Budweiser was a hit. Herman Kramer, Conrad’s California agent, pronounced the lager “an easy thing to sell.” “I never found a business so easy as this Budweiser,” he raved, and that despite it being “sold at a higher price than any other Beer in the country,” two dollars more per barrel than conventional lager. Even other brewers conceded Budweiser’s special character. “[I]t is the best bottled beer in this market,” said one. “I have drank Anheusers [sic] Bottled Beer, & the Budweiser beer is much the best.” Conrad sold a quarter of a million bottles of Budweiser in twelve months, and by late 1878, had sold six thousand barrels of the beer.

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An 1882 ad.

In a 2006 magazine article by Bill Lockhart, Pete Schulz, David Whitten, Bill Lindsey, and Carol Serr, entitled “Carl Conrad & Co. – The Original American Budweiser” they go further in depth about the story of the beer.

Although Carl Conrad was neither a brewer nor a bottler, he contracted with AnheuserBusch, then the brewers of St Louis Lager Beer, to brew and bottle his beer for him. Conrad advertised his beer as “the Original Budweiser,” and there seems to be no doubt that his was the first use of that name on the American market. Although he was only in business for about six years, his use of embossed monograms on export beer bottles assured him a place in the history of manufacturer’s marks.

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Carl Conrad & Co., St. Louis, Missouri (1876-1883)

Carl Conrad, a friend of Adolphus Busch, toured Europe in the mid-1870s, returning by 1876. According to Clint (1976:74), Conrad dined at a small monastery in Bohemia “where he was served a brew he declared to be ‘the best he ever tasted.’” Upon his return, Conrad began setting up Carl Conrad & Co. to market Budweiser Beer (named for the town of Budweis in Bavaria), although Conrad neither brewed beer nor manufactured bottles. Adolphus Busch actually made and bottled the beer, and a series of glass factories made the bottles. Conrad was initially successful, rapidly expanding his territory until his beer was sold nationwide. However, the business went downhill in the early 1880s, and Conrad declared bankruptcy on January 15, 1883. Baxter [another historian] hypothesized that Conrad was forced out of business because of the bottle shortage in the West. Beer and other bottled products were shipped long distances by wagon under difficult conditions. Because of this, the empty bottles became an important commodity.

Miles [still another historian] confirmed this shortage during an earlier period, when he noted that “teamsters could purchase a dozen bottles of liquor in Missouri for four dollars each, drink the contents along the way, and trade the empty bottles for six dollars worth of produce each in New Mexico.” Thus, virtually all bottles were reused. It is particularly true of the Southwest that a proliferation of bottles was directly tied to the arrival of the railroad. For breweries to profit from container sales, it was important that most bottles be returned. Unfortunately for the original bottler, the bottles were often not returned to the owner (the brewery) but continued to be refilled by competitors at the point of sale or elsewhere. The railroads alleviated the problem to some extent, but there were still many remote areas where bottles continued to be valuable well into the late 1880s or even later. Baxter’s argument that Conrad may have lost so much money on bottles that he was forced into bankruptcy thus is plausible. Baxter’s hypothesis, however, fails to explain why other brewers remained in business under the same circumstances.

The New York Times (1/17/1883), however, offered an alternative explanation, claiming that the very success of Conrad’s venture led to its demise. Conrad had grown so fast that he “erected new buildings on Sixth street, entered them, and established branch houses throughout the country.” Because “their branch houses were so scattered they found it impossible to get in collections as rapidly as they were needed” (New York Times 1/23/1883). Clint [yet another historian] provided examples of this expansion, noting that Conrad opened Colorado “outlets” at Denver and Leadville in 1881 and two more at Gunnison and Salida in 1882. Although “collections” probably referred to money, the beer bottle problem noted by Baxter may also have contributed to the overall problem. At the top of the list of Conrad’s principle creditors was Anheuser-Busch, although Adolphus Busch informed the paper that Conrad’s assets were expected to be sufficient to cover the debt. A meeting of the creditors on January 22, however, showed that Conrad’s assets would actually be about $140,000 short of paying all his bills (New York Times 1/23/1883).

When Conrad declared bankruptcy in January 1883, the Lindell Glass Co. was one of the largest creditors, being owed between $32,000 and $33,000 by Conrad. Although the loss hit Lindell hard, a local source stated that Lindell’s “continuance in the bottling business is almost an assured fact” (Crockery & Glass Journal 1883:30) – and that certainly proved true.

According to the Anheuser-Busch sources, the company “acquired rights to bottle and sell Budweiser” in 1883, the year Conrad declared bankruptcy. The transfer almost certainly occurred because Anheuser-Busch was the largest creditor (much larger than Lindell) at $94,000. Busch apparently accepted the Budweiser trademark as payment of the debt. Carroll noted that Conrad “eventually became an employee of Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association,” although he was unclear about the time period. Conrad did not actually assign the trademark to Anheuser-Busch until 1891, and the “CCCo (sic) insignia and the name C. Conrad & Co. remained on the [paper] label until around 1920.”

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By 1886, Conrad’s Budweiser label was looking a lot like the Anheuser-Busch label it would become. See the Evolution of America’s Most Famous Beer Label for a look at the label’s progression from 1876 to 2000.

Historic Beer Birthday: August Anheuser Busch, Jr. a.k.a. Gussie Busch

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Today is the birthday of August Anheuser Busch, Jr., better known as Gussie Busch (March 28, 1899–September 29, 1989). He was the grandson of Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch. His parents were August Anheuser Busch, Sr. “Starting at lower levels to learn the family business of Anheuser-Busch Company, Busch became superintendent of brewing operations in 1924 and head of the brewing division after his father’s death in 1934. After his older brother Adolphus Busch III’s death in 1946, August A. Jr. succeeded him as President and CEO.”

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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he was the President and CEO head of the Anheuser Busch Brewery the largest brewery in the world, (1946-75). He succeeded his older brother Adolphus bush III as President and CEO and began using the Bud Clydesdale Horse Team as a company logo. He was an avid sportsman and became owner of the National League St. Louis Cardinals Major League franchise in 1953, until his death. He died at age 90 in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1984, the Cardinals retired the number 85 in his honor, which was his age at the time and he was posthumously inducted into the Cardinals team Hall of Fame in 2014.

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Gussie at his desk at Grant’s Farm.

This is August Anheuser Busch Jr.’s obituary from the New York Times:

August Anheuser Busch Jr., the master showman and irrepressible salesman who turned a small family operation into the world’s largest brewing company, died yesterday at his home in suburban St. Louis County, Mo. He was 90 years old and had recently been hospitalized with pneumonia.

August Anheuser Busch Jr., the master showman and irrepressible salesman who turned a small family operation into the world’s largest brewing company, died yesterday at his home in suburban St. Louis County, Mo. He was 90 years old and had recently been hospitalized with pneumonia.

He had been honorary chairman of the Anheuser-Busch Companies since his retirement in 1975. But he had remained active as the president of the St. Louis Cardinals, the National League baseball club he persuaded the company’s board to buy in 1953.

Mr. Busch, known as Gussie to virtually everybody who did not know him and as Gus to those who knew him well enough not to call him Mr. Busch, was the grandson and great-grandson of the founders of the company that bore two of his names.

The company, founded in 1876, survived Prohibition by moving into widely diverse products like soft drinks and automobile bodies.

Born in St. Louis on March 28, 1899, Mr. Busch entered the family business as a young man and became general superintendent of brewing operations in 1924. He took over as head of the brewery division after the death of his father in 1934. Although he did not become president of the company until the death of his older brother, Adolphus Busch 3d, in 1946, Mr. Busch had already made his mark as a salesman-showman.

To celebrate the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Mr. Busch recalled the draft horses that had once pulled beer wagons in Germany and pre-automotive America and obtained a team to haul the first case of Budweiser down Pennsylvania Avenue for delivery to President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House. Since then the famous eight-horse hitch of Clydesdales has become almost as famous as the brand they continue to promote.

What was undoubtedly Mr. Busch’s greatest promotional coup was disguised as a civic duty – the company’s purchase of the Cardinals for $7.8 million in 1953 after the previous owner was convicted of income tax invasion.

”My ambition,” Mr. Busch declared, ”is, whether hell or high water, to get a championship baseball team for St. Louis before I die.”

He had a long wait. But beginning in 1964, the team won six National League pennants, most recently in 1987, and the World Series in 1964, 1967 and 1982.

Savored Success

Mr. Busch savored success, and he became a familiar triumphant figure to baseball fans in league playoffs and World Series home games when he would ride into Busch Stadium on the Clydesdale wagon waving a red cowboy hat.

He attributed the team’s success and the company’s to his policy of noninterference. Even so, he was active in the club’s affairs long after he left the company to others, and in 1982 he led the campaign among major league owners not to retain the previous commissioner, Bowie Kuhn.

Through the Clydesdales and the Cardinals, other promotional gimmicks and a commitment to mass advertising, Mr. Busch turned a comparatively small and financially ailing company into the industry giant. In his 29 years as the company’s active head, sales of beer went from 3 million to 37 million barrels a year. Last year the company produced 78.5 million barrels, almost double the output of its nearest competitor, and recorded sales of $9.7 billion. Its flagship brand, Budweiser, is the most popular beer in the world.

Medium Stature, Loud Voice

Through direct ownership and various trusts, Mr. Busch owned 12.5 percent of the company, or more than 30 million shares of its common stock. At yesterday’s closing price of $43.375 on the New York Stock Exchange, the holdings were worth more than $1.3 billion. The day’s increase of $1.125 a share represented a gain of more than $30 million. Trading in the company’s stock was suspended for 20 minutes after the announcement of his death.

Mr. Busch, at 5 feet 10 inches tall and 165 pounds, was a man of medium stature, but he had a loud voice that was once likened to the roar of a hoarse lion.

Fortunately for his colleagues, he had a sense of humor about his own shortcomings, which included a hairtrigger temper. ”All right, you guys,” he once shouted at a raucous company meeting. ”Let me blow my stack first. Then you can blow yours.” He also had an outsized zest for life, and both the wealth and the inclination to indulge it.

Among other things, his 281-acre estate, Grant’s Farm, includes a cabin built by hand by President Ulysses S. Grant and has a 34-room French Renaissance chateau and a well-stocked private zoo, which reflect his abiding love of animals. Mr. Busch trained his own chimpanzees and elephants before donating them to the St. Louis Zoo.

A onetime rodeo rider who later served as master of the Bridlespur Hunt outside St. Louis, Mr. Busch stocked his air-conditioned stables with several breeds, including hackneys, hunters and jumpers.

He clattered his way into family legend one day when he rode one of his horses up the main staircase of the family residence to cheer up his bedridden father.

Mr. Busch was married four times. Two of the marriages ended in divorce. His last wife, the former Margaret Rohde, died last year.

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August A. Busch (center) and his sons, Adolphus III (left) and August Jr., seal the first case of beer off the Anheuser-Busch bottling plant line in St. Louis on April 7, 1933, when the sale of low-alcohol beers and wines was once again legal. Prohibition didn’t officially end until Dec. 5 of that year.

During World War II, Busch was very involved in the war effort through the Ordnance Corps, during which time he attained the rank of colonel.

Colonel August A. Busch, Jr. was born in 1899 in St. Louis, Missouri and was educated in the public schools there. He entered the family brewing business in 1924, and by 1931 was Second Vice President and a member of the board of directors. In June 1942, he was commissioned a major in the Ordnance Corps and was assigned to the Ammunition Division in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance.

He later became Deputy Chairman in charge of the Industry Integrating Committees of Ammunition (one of 82 committees set up to work with industry). Each Industry Integration Committee was made up of representatives from each participating contractor and set up to integrate Ordnance with industry. As Deputy Chairman, he was instrumental in expediting and improving production on several items. In January 1943, he was assigned to the Tank and Automotive Center at Detroit, Michigan. His task was to further the efforts of the committees on the production of tanks, the most critical item of Ordnance procurement. In March of 1943, he was reassigned to the Industry Committees of the Ammunition Division, as the Assistant Chief in Charge of Procurement for metal parts. In 1944, he became Chief of the Industry Production Branch while still retaining the title and duties of the Deputy Chairman of Industry Integrating Committees.

He established precedents and procedures that helped industry and Ordnance work together towards the war effort. His intimate knowledge of industry and his ability to gain the confidence of industrial leaders made him an invaluable asset to the Ordnance procurement process. During his later years, he served as Chairman of the board and Chief Executive Officer of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and as Chairman of the board and President of the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals organization. Colonel Busch died in 1989.

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The St. Louis Cardinals, which Anhesuer-Busch bought in 1953, became an important part of Gussie Busch’s life.

In 1953, Cardinals owner Fred Saigh was convicted of tax evasion. Facing almost certain banishment from baseball, he put the Cardinals up for sale. When Busch got word that Saigh was seriously considering selling the team to interests who would move the team to Houston; he decided to have Anheuser-Busch get into the bidding in order to keep the Cardinals in St. Louis. Ultimately, Busch persuaded Saigh to take less money ($3.75 million) than what he was being offered by out-of-town interests in the name of civic pride, and also achieved a marketing tool.

As chairman, president or CEO of the Cardinals from the time the club was purchased by the brewery in 1953 until his death, Busch oversaw a team that won six National League pennants (1964, 1967, 1968, 1982, 1985, 1987) and three World Series (1964, 1967 and 1982). When his son, August Busch III, ousted him as president of Anheuser-Busch, the elder Busch remained as president of the Cardinals.

Although the Cardinals were the dominant baseball team in St. Louis, they did not own their own ballpark. Since 1920 they had rented Sportsman’s Park from the St. Louis Browns of the American League. Shortly after buying the Cardinals, Busch bought and extensively renovated the park, renaming it Busch Stadium (but only after a failed attempt to rename it as Budweiser Stadium). The team played there until Busch Memorial Stadium was built in the middle of the 1966 season.

In 1984, the Cardinals retired a number, 85, in Busch’s honor, which was his age at the time.

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Cardinal’s Owner and beer baron Gussie Busch threw a party at the Chase Hotel following the Cardinals 1964 World Series Championship. Here he congratulates Cardinal’s third baseman Ken Boyer, who hit two home runs and drove in six.

The Busch family also acquired Grant’s Farm, and made it the Busch Family Estate, opening it up to the public beginning in 1954. The estate website also has a timeline and there’s a short history of the farm from Wikipedia:

The property was at one time owned by Ulysses S. Grant and prior to that, by the Dent family. It is now owned by the Busch family, who owned the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company for many years until it was sold to InBev in 2008. Grant’s Farm has been an animal reserve for many years and is open to the public for free; however, there is a parking fee of $12 per vehicle. This fee helps to maintain the farm. The farm is home to such animals as buffalo, elephants, camels, kangaroos, donkeys, goats, peacocks, the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales and many more. Most of these animals can be seen by visitors on a tram tour of the deer park region of the park, while the Clydesdales are found in their nearby barn and pastures. The farm also contains a cabin called “Hardscrabble,” which was built by Ulysses S. Grant on another part of the property and later relocated to Grant’s Farm. It is the only remaining structure that was hand-built by a U.S. president prior to assuming office.

Also on the farm is the Busch family mansion, and a house in which Ulysses S. Grant resided between the Mexican and Civil Wars—White Haven. This had been his wife, Julia Grant’s, family home. Frederick Dent, Julia’s father, gave 80 acres of the farm to the couple as a wedding present. White Haven is now a national historic site: the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, and is located just across the road from Grant’s Farm.

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Here’s Gussie’s entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

August Anheuser Busch, Jr., byname Gussie Busch (born March 28, 1899, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. — died September 29, 1989, near St. Louis), American beer baron, president (1946–75) of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., who built the company into the world’s largest brewery.

In 1922 Busch was put to work sweeping floors and cleaning vats at the brewery cofounded by his grandfather Adolphus Busch, but by 1924 he was general superintendent of brewing operations. After his father died (1934), Busch became head of the brewery department, and he was installed as president of the company following his older brother’s death (1946).

Busch was a civic leader who helped revive St. Louis in the 1950s by donating $5 million toward the construction of Busch Memorial Stadium and purchasing the St. Louis Cardinals professional baseball team for $7.8 million. A familiar figure during postseason play-off games, Busch often rode into the stadium in a wagon drawn by Clydesdales, the horses that were indelibly identified with the beer wagons of Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch’s main brand. Grant’s Farm, the Busch family estate near St. Louis, was converted into a 281-acre (114-hectare) historical site and wildlife preserve.

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And finally, here’s a video created for Gussie’s induction into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.

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To celebrate production of the ten millionth barrel of beer, August A. Busch Jr. (right) and his son August III share a toast with other officials of the company on December 15, 1964.

Beer Birthday: Mitch Steele

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Today is the 54th birthday of Mitch Steele, production manager/head brewer at Stone Brewing. Mitch started out at the tiny San Andreas Brewery in Hollister, California but spent a number of years at one of the much larger Budweiser breweries when he brewed for Anheuser-Busch, before finding a home at Stone. He’s obviously a terrific brewer but is also a great person and close friend, too. He was also my roomie for GABF judging a few years ago (and will be again next year in Philly for World Beer Cup judging) and is also the author of IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale. He’s a big advocate for craft beer and always willing to help out a fellow brewer or homebrewer. Join me in wishing Mitch a very happy birthday.

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Mitch with Stone co-founder Steve Wagner at the Craft Brewers Conference in 2007.

Mitch Steele, from Stone Brewing, took 3rd for Levitation Ale
Mitch picking up his 3rd Place award on the floor of GABF 2009 for Stone’s Levitation Ale on cask at a special judging at the Great British Beer Festival in 2009 (and which I had the pleasure to judge).

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Betsy Hensley, Judy Ashworth, Mitch, Brendan Moylan & Bruce Paton at the Celebrator’s 22nd Anniversary Party.

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Mitch and 21st Amendment brewer Shaun O’Sullivan practicing their pointing during a collaboration brew in 2008 in San Francisco.

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Outside the Bistro IPA Festival in 2007 with Publican Judy Ashworth, Former San Andreas Brewing owner Bill Millar, Mitch and Bistro owner Vic Krajl.

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And no birthday post is complete without a blast from the past. Here’s Mitch’s high school prom photo in all it’s living color glory. It’s from Northgate High School Class of 1980 in Walnut Creek, CA (special thanks to Mitch for updating the old black & white photo with the glorious color one!). Love the powder blue tux.

Beer In Ads #1773: Holidays Were Made For John Forsythe


Monday’s holiday ad is for Michelob, from 1980. This holiday ad for Michelob featured actor John Forsythe, who’s best know for being the voice of Charlie in Charlie’s Angels and on the 1980s TV show Dynasty. And right before joining the cast of Dynasty, he did this ad for Michelob, where he’s putting out some bottles of beer into a bowl of ice for a party. Notice the six-pack in the corner that’s been decorated with a wreath. I can’t say I recall them doing special holiday carriers, but then I didn’t really drink the beer in 1980, either.

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