Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer

  • Title: Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer
  • Author: William Knoedelseder
  • ISBN: 9780062009265
  • Page: 331
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Bitter Brew The Rise and Fall of Anheuser Busch and America s Kings of Beer Bitter Brew deftly chronicles the contentious succession of kings in a uniquely American dynasty You ll never crack open a six again without thinking of this book John Sayles Director of Eight Men Ou
    Bitter Brew deftly chronicles the contentious succession of kings in a uniquely American dynasty You ll never crack open a six again without thinking of this book John Sayles, Director of Eight Men Out and author of A Moment in the SunThe creators of Budweiser and Michelob beers, the Anheuser Busch company is one of the wealthiest, most colorful and enduring family dyn Bitter Brew deftly chronicles the contentious succession of kings in a uniquely American dynasty You ll never crack open a six again without thinking of this book John Sayles, Director of Eight Men Out and author of A Moment in the SunThe creators of Budweiser and Michelob beers, the Anheuser Busch company is one of the wealthiest, most colorful and enduring family dynasties in the history of American commerce In Bitter Brew, critically acclaimed journalist William Knoedelseder tells the riveting, often scandalous saga of the rise and fall of the dysfunctional Busch family an epic tale of prosperity, profligacy, hubris, and the dark consequences of success that spans three centuries, from the open salvos of the Civil War to the present day.

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      Posted by:William Knoedelseder
      Published :2019-07-04T12:08:06+00:00

    About William Knoedelseder


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    127 Comments


    1. Lost a star for typos. The most offensive - "Gravis" Road in south St. Louis? Really? As if a four-second Google search would have killed your editors.

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    2. As happens quite often, I heard about this book while listening to NPR on our local public radio station, and it sounded interesting, despite my tendency not to find history interesting.Indeed, it is a rather fascinating book about the Busch family, of Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) fame. And what a family! At least three men -- grandfather, father and son -- who were gifted and obsessed businessmen. Between them, and over a period of around a hundred years or more, they created an incredible fortun [...]

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    3. This was a selection my book club picked. I would never have picked this book up voluntarily on my own. I don't really care much about the lives of the rich and famous. That being said, this turned out to be a fascinating book. I supposed it helped because I live in St. Louis.There were parts I kind of skimmed. But it was an easy read, although somewhat biased. The author is definitely not a fan of the Busch family. However the part on the St. Louis Cardinal purchase by Gussie Busch was fascinat [...]

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    4. First of all, you can tell that I'm on a roll.o books read very recentlynd of manic I guess and making up for lost time not reading much. Yes, I need to read more like a good book to get you in the groove againThis is a great book about Anheuser-Busch and the history around Budweiser. I can honestly state that I'm a Miller Lite and/or Coors Lite drinker; however the story behind Budweiser is still a great read.Most of the press focus is on August IV but there is so much more to it than just the [...]

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    5. If this was my first book I'd read on the Busch family, I would have been impressed. There were a few new stories, and certainly a different "spin" on the family than the first book I read. Amazing how holding such a small percentage of the company, they managed to have everyone in St. Louis thinking that they owned the whole thing. lol On one hand, the brewery, like I'm sure they all did at some point, provided a lot of middle class jobs. An opportunity for people to work for one company their [...]

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    6. As my mom called it, Lear with beer. The author follows the Busch family from the founding of the company through the aftermath of the sale to InBev (Booo!Hiss!). There's business and politics, and lots of family history and gossip. Though I consider St. Louis my home, I didn't grow up there. So much of this history was new to me. I think the parts about fighting prohibition, and how the company stayed alive during the dry years were quite interesting. I also loved the company's history with my [...]

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    7. I loved the history of St. Louis and of the company itself. As for the family history, it was cool to take an inside look, though it felt personal. I wanted an objective perspective. The authors stance felt incredibly biased, to the point where it has me doubting some of his depictions. For example, some of the personal conversations relayed involving any of the Busch family-- directly quote Gussie, The Third or the Fourth. These did not mention quotes from a speech, article, or interview, but w [...]

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    8. I haven't been a consumer of Anheuser Busch products for well over a decade. It's a part of my life that I just outgrew, but when I was drinking Budweiser was one of my favorites. "Bitter Brew" is an excellent business story, where generations after generations ruin the family business because of their birthrights. Instead of getting the job base on merits, August Busch IV (The Fourth), became CEO and ruin the legacy of the family and the business. Not only he made really bad business choices fo [...]

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    9. I thought this would be interesting to listen to. It certainly was, but as the book progressed, it got more and more gossipy and scandal-laden. By the time that happened I was as invested in the characters as though they were fictional and couldn't quite stop. But I felt ashamed for listening so avidly to the tale of a family's descent into sordidness. The earlier history is more what I expected, and consequently the part of the book I liked best. The inescapable conclusion I drew at the end is [...]

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    10. Pretty interesting! I'm a sucker for a good American wealth-dynasty story esp. when it ends in scandal and disgrace. Also funny that throughout this book everyone is all "WE MUST UPHOLD THE LEGACY OF BUDWEISER" as if the American version is some kingly brew. Man, I gotta see what August IV is up to now. The way the book ends, I wouldn't be surprised if he's dead

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    11. This is a bio/history of the Anheuser-Busch company blended with a biographical portrait of several members of the Busch family. Not a happy ending was had by all.The final takeover and gutting of A-B in 2010 forward is a sad story. Except for a few stockholders who became wealthier than ever. As August Busch (Gussie) said, 'It's all about the beer!"The book is sloppy in places in timeline and coherence. There are some obvious errors that slipped through (?lack of and not poor editing?) to the p [...]

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    12. I listened to this audiobook as part of my county's Livingston Reads 2015.I wouldn’t have picked this book up to read on my own (especially since I don’t even drink Anheuser-Busch’s beers), which is why I decided to participate in the Livingston Reads--to stretch my reading muscles and go outside my normal.This book was very interesting. Here's a random bullet list of things I learned from and thought about the book, in no particular order.-I always find it fascinating in a kinda horrific [...]

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    13. Wow! What a tale.This book is primarily a biography of the Busch family, from their humble origins through present day. Along the way we learn a great deal about the beer business, baseball and St. Louis. We also learn a lot about sex, drugs, scandal, corruption, etc. As a resident of the St. Louis area (and an avid baseball and beer fan) I was captivated by this book. The stories are so good, however, that I feel anyone would find an interesting read. The first part of the book was very romanti [...]

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    14. We read this for our book group. It is an intersting look at the intertwined history of Anheuser-Busch and the Busch family. It covers the founding of the company and its breakthrough as the premier seller of American beer up until the takeover by InBev in 2012. The most interesting parts describe the struggle to survive as a company during Prohibition and the reign of Gussie Busch as the leader of the company from the 30's to the 70's. I have fliply described it as King Lear with beer, and ther [...]

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    15. First off, the book is well written. The author seemed to do his research, and the book moves right along.However, it starts at the end, and then jumps back telling us how we got there. So we already know whats going to happen, why and how, so there is no sense of mystery or stress. Its just, here you go. There's also enough foreshadowing to choke a horse.Also, its a little frustrating to read about the uber-wealthy and feel any sympathy for them. Especially the progression of Presidents of the [...]

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    16. I thought Bitter Brew would help with my understanding of big beer, and it has. So, the book accomplished what I wanted it to. It also gave me a better appreciation for the hard work of the AB family. And it taught me a great lesson in the beer business. I love AB's motto, “Making Friends Is Our Business”.I don't know how many craft beer geeks have read this book, I don't think we were the intended audience. As a beer geek though, I felt insulted when the author got the name of the "Beer Hun [...]

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    17. I really enjoyed this book, because I live in STL, and A-B is a huge part of the area's history. However, this book made me crazy because it really put a spotlight on the family and their excesses. When InBev bought the brewery a few years ago, we weren't privy to all that went on behind the scenes. I totally understand now how and why #4 let it all go. It was interesting, infuriating, and really sad to learn of the behind the scenes events that led to the family's downfall. I know several peopl [...]

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    18. This book was a combination of business analysis, brewing history, pop culture retrospective, and gossip column. It worked. The Busch family was, for the most part a train wreck in their personal lives and how that intersected with running one of the worlds largest and most successful companies is a fascinating tale. I found the discussions of brewing formulations, which were a small part of the book, particularly interesting. For example, to get Bud Light (which they were pushed unwillingly int [...]

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    19. Being a native St Louisian, I couldn't wait to read this book. I have read nearly everyting written on this local dynasty and this book doesn't disappoint. Like the Kennedys, this family too has had the scandals as well as the successes that has made this family the multi-millionaires that they are today. The author throws open the doors on the personal coverups and back-room deals to protect the Busch name. The suicides and alcoholism come to light, where in the past were only hinted. But perha [...]

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    20. This book tells a fascinating story even without the soapie tales throughout, but they are certainly a plus. Plenty of advice on how to and how to not raise your children, how communication and honesty are important in families, and how even a few managerial missteps can devastate a behemoth company. In the final chapter it was difficult to tell if the author was criticizing modern business practices (hostile take overs, conglomeration, global markets) or just prescribing blame to August III and [...]

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    21. Booze. Guns. Drugs. Suicide. Man-slaughter. Adultery. Prostitutes. Greed. Nepotism. The sub-title of this book could be "Rich Man Behaving Badly." Bitter Brew is the story of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company, which is to say, it is really the story of the Busch dynasty. This book goes back to the beginning of A-B and a young German entrepreneur named Adolphus Busch and ends with the selling of A-B to InBev by the bacchanalian beer baron, Adolphus Busch IV. Bitter Brew is filled with all kinds [...]

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    22. I recommend this book to readers with a connection to STL. I read it based on a friend's recommendation and because my nephew is a manager for the Dallas Bud distributor. I didn't think it was particularly well written but the story was interesting. The author showed more passion about the Cardinals than he did the Busch family. The story of the amazing creation of great wealth and the ability of character or lack thereof to destroy it is why this book was interesting to me. I'm going to pass it [...]

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    23. Anheuser-Busch casts a big shadow over St Louis, so it was interesting to read about the history of the Busch family. The first half of the book read like great narrative history. I really enjoyed the insight into the way the company grew out of prohibition into being half of the total US beer market today.The second half of the book read like a gossipy, salacious tell-all. Thankfully, I like those too. Another example of how inherited wealth is sometimes a curse.

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    24. The book itself is well written, it's the subject that I had a hard time with. I have little to no interest in people with entitlement issues, arrogance, and dependency issues. It's unfortunate that it's nonfiction. I kept waiting for a decent, like-able member of the Busch family to emerge in the book, but apparently one doesn't exist.

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    25. I enjoyed this book since I'm from stl. It was a little slow at timed but the events leading up to August IV and the InBev sale were interesting. The last chapter left me with a warm fuzzy feeling.

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    26. My summary review is at: kristaink/2015/02

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    27. Loved it! Very readable history of the "Kings of Beer," full of gossipy tidbits and enough facts to keep this beer geek happy.

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    28. This has been probably my favorite book I've read this year. The story of the Busch family is given a very complete treatment that doesn't fail to both inform and entertain with its great organization and good writing. Knoedelseder is arguably biased in his more scandal focused presentation of Busch history, which I'm sure would receive quite a different treatment from an author bankrolled by the family themselves. His account, however, makes for a dramatic and informative tale that spans decade [...]

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    29. This is a cautionary tale about what can go wrong in a family business dynasty – in this case, the five generations of Busch beer kings. It was riveting. The Busch beer empire was started in the 1800s by a German immigrant, Adolphus Busch, who married Lily, the daughter of another German immigrant, Eberhard Anheuser. Together they created a major St. Louis brewery and an American success story. By the second generation, the company was thriving and Budweiser consumption rocketing. Then… Proh [...]

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    30. As a resident of St. Louis since 1972, I LOVED this book. I knew bits and pieces of the history of A-B, but really didn't know the back story of the Cardinal's baseball team or Grant's Farm. There were a few misspelled street names, which is rather annoying, but I think overall, the book was excellent. Other reviewers/comments feel that it put the family and beer company in a bad light, but I think it celebrated in their successes as much as it was honest about their failings.My sisters graduate [...]

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