Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer by William Knoedelseder Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

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 Out and author of A Moment in the Sun

The creators of Budweiser and Michelob beers, the Anheuser-Busch company is one of the wealthiest, most colorful and enduring family dyn

The 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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    Denise Kruse

    Mar 06, 2013

    rated it
    really liked it

    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.

    Bryan Higgs

    Jan 22, 2013

    rated it
    really liked it

    Shelves:
    beer

    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

    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 fortune and a family dynasty. But, at the same time, those same men put the creation of power and riches above that of their wives and children, ultimately creating a family of dysfunction, indulgence, corruption, and tragedy. The arrogance of those men, and their power-hungry single-mindedness comes through clearly, as does their genius.

    It’s also disappointing to see how easily those three Busch men manipulated the masses and their drinking habits, not to mention cultivating people in power at both state and federal levels.

    The Busch family misfortunes are sad to learn about, not least those of the last Busch family member, August IV, to head the company before the InBev takeover — but not much to sympathize with, as his were mostly self-inflicted misfortunes.

    Along with this, the book conveys what happened to those major American breweries that I was introduced to when I first arrived in the US (in the late 60s and early 70s): Not just Anheuser-Busch (A-B), but Miller, Coors, Schlitz, Pabst, and even Canadian breweries Molson and Labatt. I had not heard about the wholesale amalgamation of so many of them. I already knew that A-B had been taken over by InBev, who I had heard was a Belgium beer conglomerate. I did not know that InBev is owned/controlled by three billionaire Brazilian financiers.

    I suppose I can say that my attitude towards American beers such as Bud, Miller, Coors, et. al. is thoroughly justified by what I learned from this book. I never drink any of them, much preferring the products of microbreweries. My original reasons were (and are) taste. Now, they also include a wish not to support companies with such self-serving, monopolistic and misleading practices. The men running InBev, for example, are portrayed as being brutally cost-cutting — not interested in what they produce, but purely in making a profit.

    I have learned that Anheuser-InBev now owns something like 200 beer brands, including many longtime brands such as Bass, Beck, Stella Artois, Budweiser (except for the original Czech Budweiser Budvar — a MUCH better beer than American Budweiser. The Czech company is unrelated to the American Budweiser, although they apparently have marketing agreements in the US), Labatt, Lowenbrau, Rolling Rock, St. Pauli Girl, Whitbread, and many, many more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InBev_br…).

    The second largest beer-related conglomerate, SABMiller owns something like 150 brands, including Miller, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, Grolsch, and many more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SABMille…).

    It’s enough to make you cry!

    Altogether, a fascinating, but rather discouraging book.

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    Marla

    Sep 17, 2013

    rated it
    really liked it

    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

    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 fascinating. How Grant’s Farm came into being was also interesting. And even though I’m in St. Louis and have heard plenty of Busch family stories over the years, I really had no idea of the magnitude of their wealth. Like crazy rich. The “fall” part of the book was kind of heartbreaking even though the author has no sympathy for The Buschs’. It’s a good lesson in “money doesn’t make you happy.”

    If you love the Cardinals as I do, or have any interest in St. Louis history, this is a very good read.

    Go Cards!
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