Thought this was interesting:
Belgian Brewer InBev is offering a big payday to shareholders of Anheuser-Busch Cos. (BUD) (BUD) Inc., but its bid to create the world’s largest beer company is already facing a major obstacle – U.S. election-year politics.
InBev SA, whose brands include Beck’s and Stella Artois, delivered an unsolicited all-cash bid of $65 a share for Anheuser-Busch, which makes Budweiser, Michelob and Bud Light. That’s well above the St. Louis-based company’s closing share price of $58.35 Wednesday.
But politicians and activists are already lining up against the deal, saying it could cost jobs in the United States and send ownership of an iconic American company overseas. With economic concerns at the front of voters’ minds, the opposition could cause a headache for InBev.
When I lived in Germany, I remember drinking a Czech beer named Budweiser, and I would bet it has been around longer than the “iconic American” beer of the same name.
I share no love for craptacular A/B products. Living in Central Misery, we’re in A/B country. Ugh.
But, as an employer, they’re one of the best. They pay competitive wages, have great benefits and as a corporate master goes, they’re one of the best. For example, unlike every other corporate asshole in the St Louis area, they haven’t outsourced and offshored their IT. And they pay their IT people well, unlike any other IT firm in St Louis that pays shit.
If InBev gets em, say buh bye to all that. Just another attempt to gut the middle class in ‘merka.
The Budvar/Budweiser debate isn’t quite as black and white as it sounds. My understanding is this: It’s not that Budvar (the Czech beer) was first to the table, it’s that they claim that the word “Budweiser” is an adjective, similar to “Pilsner,” that denotes a region/style, and thus can’t be trademarked.
When I visited the Czech Republic, I visited the brewery (in České Budějovice, sometimes called Budweis in German) and enjoyed the beer. I seem to recall sampling a lot of it.
Thanks for the stock tip, but I’ve already invested my quota for the week.
That is why it is difficult to buy stock when you hear of a buy-out. Anything can happen to ruin the deal.
I’m a bigtime beer snob, but there is nothing wrong with Budweiser. It’s a ripoff of Pilsner Urquell. The only crime was that in the good ole USA, for a longtime, every beer was exactly like it, a Pilsner, leading Average Joe to think that’s the only type of beer made.
As for the buyout, I’m all for it if they bring Ed McMahon back for the Commercials.
Please send hops ASAP.
b. hussein canuckistani
Relax, McCain will veto any beer.
InBev isn’t really Belgian anymore. Yeah, it’s headquarters are in Belgium but the actual management is Brazilian.
There is also nothing right about it.
I remember drinking a Czech beer named Budweiser, and I would bet it has been around longer than the “iconic American” beer of the same name.
(Personally, I think both suck.)
The first time I was in Prague I went to Joe’s Bar, at the time a hangout for English-speaking ex-pats. I ordered a Pilsner Urquell and was informed that all they had was Budweiser. Well, I said, I didn’t come 3,500 miles just to have a Bud, but the barkeep told me this was the Czech Bud, the real stuff. And it was real good.
You are objectively wrong. From the cloying sweetness from the rice brewing to the formaldehyde aftertaste, everything about Budweiser is wrong.
You can get the Czech Budweiser in the US. It’s sold as Budvar/Czechvar.
You can buy bottled Czech Budvar in the US under the name Czechvar, but it isn’t as fresh as it should be.
Here’s the quick Wiki rundown of the history of the dispute. I prefer the Czech stuff, myself.
Mmm, Budweiser Budvar and Pilsner Urquell. Two of my favorites.
(Beer/language snob tip: “Urquell” is derived from a German word, “Urquelle”, which means something like original or ultimate source. It’s pronounced, approximately, “oorkvell”, not “erkell”.)
The Other Steve
The guys who started Budweiser here in the states had traveled to Europe and sampled various beers. They liked the flavor of the Czech Budweiser and so when they came home they attempted to replicate it. Hence the name.
Although another factoid, even though Budweiser has been in the states since the late 1800s… the official alcohol of America was Whiskey up until prohibition.
Following prohibition, beer became dominant, and that’s largely because all the distilleries had had their kegs broken up and it takes years to age a fresh batch of Whiskey, whereas Beer is ready in a few weeks.
I do wonder if the original Budweiser made here in the states was made from rice, like it is today?
When I was tending bar in London, they told me that Budveiser (the Czech beer) came before Budweiser (the American), and had claim to the name in Europe. That’s why American Budweiser has to go by the name “Bud” over there. This was 15 years ago though, so maybe things have changed.
I had a family member bring back some Budvar from Czech once, I recall it being okay though not as good as the Yuengling I had in the other hand. Budweiser’s drinkable but only out of a can and only when it’s ice cold and you’ve already had a few drinks under your belt.
I think it would be a fascinating cultural growing-up stage if all the American beer makers got bought up by foreign companies. Sort of like “Hi! Wake the fuck up! Welcome to the world! Even your beers depend on your fellow global citizens so you best start learning and caring more about them!”
Seriously, this is a blow to the whole “as long as we make beer and guns, fuck everything else” contingent :) it should be allowed to happen. Since when is the government more powerful than our corporations?
R. Stanton Scott
Like many central European towns and cities, Budweis/Budejovice changed hands fairly often until 1945, and the populations usually used two languages (you see dual names in France, as well). So Budweiser is indeed an adjective, formed from the name of the town, describing the beer as made in Budweis.
No better beer experience exists than sipping a freshly-made Pilsner Urquelle at the brewery in Plzen, though Budvar comes a close second. The food there is also excellent. Until the end of the Cold War, this was also very inexpensive (I traveled to Plzen often from 1983 to 1992).
(It is best consumed fresh, however, so I rarely buy any here unless I can get it on tap–sometimes fresher than in bottles).
American Budweiser–and most other mass-produced American beer–simply sucks. They use inferior ingredients, and an inferior recipe–and then they pastuerize it! To top it all off, they sell it in cans.
This, my friends, would be alcohol abuse–if American beer had any alcohol in it to speak of.
Chris Johnson Says:
I think it would be a fascinating cultural growing-up stage if all the American beer makers got bought up by foreign companies.
Coors is owned by Molson(Canadian) and Miller is owned by a South African company.
Budweiser = victory beer = dreck
Also, it might suck for someone if Anheuser-Busch was sold…
Cindy McCain (born Cindy Lou Hensley on May 20, 1954) is the wife of United States Senator and 2000 and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain of Arizona. She is chair of Hensley & Co., one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation. (ripped off from Wikipedia)
In 1981 I did a 3-week hitchhiking tour of the West. Maybe 60% of my rides offered me beer. All but three of them were Budweiser (there was a Coors guy in Colorado, an Oly guy from Spokane, and a Michigander who had Heileman’s in Arizona). If I never, ever drink another Budweiser I will die a less miserable person. Weak, insipid pisswater.
(There is, in all fairness, one time I drank a Bud and really really enjoyed it. That was taking the ferry home from San Francisco the night of the earthquake, after two hours on the road and another two hours waiting in line for the ferry.)
I should add, also out of fairness, that I’m not a Pilsener fan in general. I’m an ale guy, mostly, although I also like the really strong lagered beers (Bocks and such).
“Beer/language snob tip: “Urquell” is derived from a German word, “Urquelle”, which means something like original or ultimate source. It’s pronounced, approximately, “oorkvell”, not “erkell”.
That may be right, but the late Michael Jackson referred to it simply as ‘urkwell’, and that’s good enough for me.
Thanks for the info, drinkof. Who am I to argue with Michael Jackson?
Does this mean that their products might taste better?
I also remember the Czech Budweiser and it was much better than it’s American counterpart.
As a St. Louis native I obviously oppose this deal. Booo global economy!
If you drank an Olympia in 1981, you weren’t drinking the original beer. In that year, Olympia made a big deal of changing its iconic horseshoe and waterfall label design into something hideous. At the same time, the company did something it did not publicize – the brewmasters reformulated the beer in an attempt to make it more European, and it tasted like shit. Like it or hate it (I liked it), the original Vitamin O had a distinct taste that set it apart from the average American lager. It was much better than Buttwiper. Even Raindog (what we eastern Washingtonians called Rainier) was better than Bud.
Now Rainier is brewed in southern California, and Oly is extinct. Oh, well…I don’t drink anymore anyway. It’s an activity not generally recommended for recovering alcoholics. If I had a nickel for every Oly stubby I drank in my misspent youth, I could afford four-dollar gasoline today.
Second what the person above said. I lived in St. Louis for 10 years, have many friends there still, and losing AB would be a huge blow to the city. (I drank a lot of Boulevard and Sam Adams there.)
InBev has plenty of piss-water to peddle with Becks and Stella, leave our native piss-waters alone.
Also, only drink Pilsner Urquell out of a keg. It sucks out of their lousy green, light-striking, bottles. Brown is the only glass color that should ever be used for bottled beer.
(Now I live in beer heaven: Boulder, CO. Probably the highest concentration of craft brewers in the country here. An embarassment of tasty, fresh brews. In brown bottles.)
All thanks to the weak dollar for letting us parcel out our country on the cheap. At least it helps exports, right?
The beer sold in the US predates the Budvar Brewery in Budweis (or České Budějovice if you prefer) but there have been breweries in that town for hundreds of years.
So by no means is Budvar/Czechvar the “Original Budweiser”, it is just a “Czech Budweiser”
A piece of trivia — the US Budweiser was originally a “contract beer” — another company owned the name and recipe and contract with Anheuser-Busch to brew it. Somewhere along the way A/B acquired the rights.
As for the rice — there is a valid reason: American 6-row barley was higher in nitrogen and had more husk then the European 2-row. A beer made with 100% 6-row could be “grainy” and have stability problems. So the 6-row barley was “cut” with other cereal grains — corn or rice. Historically, the percentage was on the order of 10-20%. But barley shortages around the world wars, the temperance movement and changing tastes led to an increase of the proportion where today it is 35-40% (over 50% for “Malt Liquor”)
Some craft brewers (and homebrewers) make a “Pre-Prohibition Lager” which tries to recreate this lost style. They can be very nice.
If you’re ever in the Twin Cities, allow me to buy you a Surly. I think it will change your perception of canned beer.
Where were you living in Germany?
I’ve been buying some of those high alcohol beers at Whole Foods lately. I’ve been enjoying several of the Southern Tier brews, especially the ones that range from 9% to 11% ABV. They aren’t as good as, say, the Karmeleit Tripel, or the St. Bernardus stuff, or Koenigshoeven, but they’re a fair amount cheaper per ounce, and they’re still pretty tasty.
And they get you drunk really fast as well.
I saw Czech Budweiser in Germany, but didn’t get try it.
One year there some friends and I had a July 4th cookout and decided to keep it “All-American” and have American beer (Bud, Coors, etc). Not a good idea after over a year of drinking german bier. Our german girlfriends were not impressed.
That’s an insult to my country.
Calling Anheuser-Busch “an iconic American company” is like calling “Kraft Singles®” “an iconic American cheese [-like pasteurized process cheese product]”.
This is funny–when I was living in Germany, a group of us expats got together and did the same thing. One of them had a connection at a local U.S. PX. So we ended up with a couple of cases of Budweiser that almost no one found drinkable. (This was in a town in the Munich area, where most of us had beer from one of the Big Six breweries delivered to our doors–that’s a service I quite liked.)
Monty Python had the ultimate comment about that about 35 years ago:
“You know what it is with American beer? It is like making love in a canoe.”
“It’s f***ing close to water.”
Budvar is sold as Czechvar in the USA because of a settlement between Anheuser-Busch and Budvar – they get to call it Bud overseas (except inside the Stadiums during the last World Cup).
the biggest budweiser controversy i remember is when they became an official sponsor to the 2006 world cup in Germany. All the germans I know where pissed because they couldn’t get their regular beers at the matches, and resorted to some creative smuggling efforts to avoid having to drink the “kätzenpisse” (cat piss) as they call it
Little known fact – there was a company in Dubois PA selling “Budweiser” in the early part of the 20th century. AB sued them around 1910 or something then dropped the case only to bring it back in the 40’s when they won.
That was when a judge ruled that the term was a trade name, not a descriptive.
Use the great gazoogle for more info.
Ras, I took a tour through CO last August (up from NM). Colorado Springs, Denver, Ft. Collins, Boulder. You aren’t kidding about the wealth of good beers there. I was pleasantly surprised by Ft. Collins, too; Odell and New Belgium are worth the trip (and Coopersmith’s has good beer and good food!). Boulder was my favorite, though. I spent a lot of time at the Mountain Sun on Pearl. We went back in January, and I took the Boulder Beer tour. Nice enough place and decent beers, but I wish I had made it to Avery. Ah well.
Gaaah. For someone like me, who loves stouts (the darker the better), Budweiser is anathama.
(At least with Guinness I get something I can chew…)
In my experience, better beers are made in colder climates. I didn’t like the beer in Brazil (with the exception of Xingu and Caracu), Italy, Spain and Mexico (with the exception of Dos Equis).
On the other hand, consistently better beers come from countries like Germany,England, Ireland, Belgium and Holland. When you’re in Brazil, drink caipirinhas, in Italy and Spain, drink wine and in Mexico, tequila.
The Budvar vs Budweiser issue is actually much nastier than people realize and caused international friction (unknown to most Americans). After the end of the Cold War, Budweiser tried to use it’s money and muscle to try to make Budvar give up the Budweiser name:
They’ve been fighting for years, but it really started getting nasty in the early 1990s when Budweiser thought they could roll over the former Commie chumps in Czechoslovakia and tried to force Budvar to give up the name Budweiser in their own country as well as for any future expansion plans. Big mistake. I lived there in 1992/93 and it made Czechs really angry about America, capitalism, globalization, the whole free market ideal.
A great overview of the story is at Brandchannel. Back in the day, they were apparently a bit more gentlemanly.
It looks like it’s a matter of coexistence now, as Budweiser Budvar has been pretty successful at getting it’s brand trademarked.
Budvar is better anyway, but if you’re ever in Prague track down the fresh stuff at U Cerneho Vola. It’s the best.
El Caballo de Sangre
Jeebus…if there’s anything I can’t stand about this site, it’s the explosion of alcohol snobbery that breaks out every few days. All of you sound like the most douchebaggy of douchebags (and, of course, when I say “all”, I mean “some”).
For fuck’s sake: DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE TO DRINK. If you like American Budweiser, but you happen to be in Italy, then fucking order American fucking Budweiser. And if you’re in Brazil, don’t let some tool TRY to make you feel provincial by telling you that you REALLY OUGHT to be drinking a caipirinha.
Myself, I drink Bell’s Two Hearted at my favorite bar on the weekends (and I fucking love it) and Natty Ice during the week (and I fucking love it).
El Caballo de Sangre
And if any of you are thinking about refuting that, consider: you’ll be confirming you status as a supercilious snob.
Seriously: if you want to feel like you’re “better” than somebody because of your intelligence, education, social conscience, political theories, etc., then go right ahead. You SHOULD. I do it all the time. Those are reasonable benchmarks for assessing one’s quality as a human being. Beer specifically, and booze in general, is NOT. The wisest (notice I didn’t say smartest) guy I know drinks nothing but Wild Irish Rose, and he’s “better” than any hoity-toity MFer that writes to the world fretting about how the maltiness and hoppiness of his last home-brew wasn’t perfectly calibrated to his liking. FUCK.
Bud,Coors,and all the big name American beers are made into Concentrate and shipped around the US. When they reach the local bottler the beer concentrate is reconstituted with water and bottled.
My friend has worked for the big two American Breweries and when he told me how their Product was made I realized why it is such terrible beer.
Bud,Bush Coors,Michelob etc are all the same. They all taste bland and terrible.
Orange juice from concentrate is bad enough but beer?
I actually know people who have such bad taste that they only drink this swill.
Pilsmer Urquell is WAY better than Bud and it is a bad beer.
The Czech company sold the right to A-B way back. The Czech company can only sell it in Czech and A-B can’t sell it in Czech. It was a very clear cut business deal.
Jeebus…if there’s anything I can’t stand about this site, it’s the explosion of alcohol snobbery that breaks out every few days
It’s almost as the bad as the hysterical overreacters getting their knickers in a twist. Christ.
Person of Choler
For my money:
1)Pilsner Urquell, from the tap in the brewery
3)Ur Krostitzer Pils
5)The dark beer brewed at U Fleků
U Fleku! Good one!
The brewery was closed when I went tp Plzen, but got some mighty fresh P-U at a restaurant nearby. 25 cents a pint, 1990.
Having worked for Oriental Breweries, the Korean brewery purchased in the late 90’s by InBev, I can tell you that it will be even more downhill for the beer industry. The Brazilian management are idiots who have no loyalty to the beer industry. They are accountants who look only at profit. The first thing they did in Korea (after the Belgian, Canadians and Americans were cleansed from management)was to end the use of Australia and Canadian malts for production and started using Chinese crap. Although the Korean Brewmasters initially fought this, they were told that they could look for jobs elsewhere, or comply.
I met a couple of the Brazilian directors in 2006 and I must say, they were some of the rudest shits I’ve ever met. Beer will be RIP if these idiots acquire A/B.