In 1852, George Schneider founded the Bavarian Brewery in St. Louis, Missouri. When Schneider went bankrupt eight years later in 1860, Eberhard Anheuser, a German immigrant and soap manufacturer who had loaned the Bavarian Brewery over ninety thousand dollars, assumed control of the company. Anheuser was soon joined by his son-in-law, Adolphus Busch, who used refrigerated railroad cars to enlarge distribution and put teams of Clydesdale horses to work, transforming the brewery’s carts into working advertisements.
In 1876, Adolphus Busch helped restaurateur Carl Conrad create a light beer like those brewed in the Bohemian town of Budweis, naming the beer Budweiser. Budweiser’s popularity over darker beers helped the brewery grow rapidly.
When Adolphus Busch died in 1913, his son, August Busch, took over the Bavarian Brewery, renamed Anheuser-Busch, Inc., in 1919. During Prohibition, August Busch kept the company in business by selling yeast, refrigeration units, truck bodies, syrup, and soft drinks.
When Prohibition was repealed, Busch resumed the brewing operation, delivering a case of Budweiser to President Franklin Roosevelt in a carriage drawn by Clydesdale horses, which have since become the company’s symbol.
Budweiser was not the first “King of Beers.” St. Louis A.B.C. Bohemian beer was billed as “King of All Bottle Beers,” Michelob was called “King of Draught Beer,” and both Regal Beer and Imperial Beer were both touted as “King of Beers.”
In the 1970s, advertising featuring memorable slogans helped keep Anheuser-Busch’s products in the forefront of consumers’ minds, most notably with Budweiser’s 1979 “This Bud’s for You” campaign.
In 1983, when Anheuser-Busch brought a Cleveland florist to court for using the Budweiser slogan “This Bud’s for You,” Federal Judge Ann Aldrich ruled in favor of the florist, claiming it would be absurd for anyone to confuse flowers with beer.
Until 2009, Anheuser-Busch owned ten theme parks, including Adventure Island, Baseball City Sports Complex, Busch Gardens, Cypress Gardens, Sea World, Sesame Place, and Water Country U.S.A.
Anheuser-Busch operates twelve breweries in the United States.
Anheuser-Busch is the world’s largest brewer and the self-proclaimed “King of Beers” in the United States.
In 2013, annual sales of Budweiser beer exceeded 17 million barrels.