WSJ Reviews “Dethroning The King”

I got a review copy of the new book, Dethroning the King, which is all about the hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch by InBev, a few weeks ago but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It looks fascinating and I’m looking forward to devouring it as soon as I can. For now, I’ll have to make do with the Wall Street Journal review of the book, which only makes me want to read it more. Anybody else read it yet? Thoughts?



  1. Mitch says

    About 1/4 of the way into it. Despite some small factual inaccuracies, so far the author has completely captured the essence of AAB III, and what it’s like to work for him. I’m impressed.

  2. says

    I too am 1/2 way through the book. It is amazing to me how divorced the actual beer is from the business. That part depresses me but the dynamic between III and IV is really interesting.

  3. beerman49 says

    Having read the review, I’ll get a copy sooner or later when it’s in paperback (or cheap on Amazon within 6 months, as beer books generally become).

    What I suspect, based on the review, is that the book’s author got a lot of historical info from the circa Y2K book on A-B (whose title I can’t remember; I read it 5-6 yrs ago), including the skinny on Augie III.

    Maybe Augie IV just decided to tell the A-B board to “take the money & run” (& live happily ever after, drinking GOOD beer & booze – no more corp loyalty required!). At that $$ level, “tradition” is meaningless; I feel sorry for the low-end loyal “grunts” who’ve lost their jobs post-takeover.

    What I’ve seen since InBev took A-B over is fewer TV ads during non-sports programs. I live in SF Bay area (craft brew heaven!); the same may not be true elsewhere. The book reviewer’s implication that InBev is “beancounter”-driven certainly rings true to me.

  4. California Pete says

    I’m finally getting around to reading this one myself. Excellent stuff. The Busch family comes across–in a sense that is good, bad, and ugly–as perhaps the closest thing we have in the States to a royal family, and it makes for a really compelling story. Politically, there’s something here for everyone, and while I find the book to be excellent fodder for my own left-wing interpretations of the 21st-century global political economy, I’m sure readers on the right could spin this book to support their own very different world view.

    Like A-B itself, at least under the guidance of the Third, this book is not fundamentally about the beer. Yes, it is clear that the beer mattered deeply to the family and the company, with no expenses spared to maintain probably the most technically advanced breweries the world has ever known, but it is also clear that the character of said beer was designed to suit the taste of one man, and one man only: the Third. Contrary to Maureen Ogle’s portrayal, A-B did not give the American beer consumer what he/she wanted; A-B told that consumer what he/she wanted, and it was going to be whatever the Third liked. Period.

    I’m reading between the lines, but this is the impression I get from Julie Mackintosh. Whatever one thinks of A-B and global macro lager, anyone with even the faintest interest in beer and/or global business will want to read this excellent book.

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