The History of the King of Beers

Adolphus Busch, journeyed to America from Germany in 1857, determined to make his dreams come true. Adolphus wasted no time once he landed in St. Louis, and started work at a brewing supply company. Among his clients was Eberhard Anheuser (the name might sound familiar), who owned what was then known as E. Anheuser & Company. Adolphus married Eberhard’s daughter, Lilly, in 1861.

Adolphus was drawn to St. Louis because of the city’s large German population. But a large German population meant a lot of beer, which in turn meant a lot of competition for Adolphus and Eberhard’s brewery. Luckily, Adolphus was a talented salesman with an eye for innovation. He wasn’t about to be discouraged by competition. 

Recognizing the need to expand outside of St. Louis to places with a less-crowded beer market, Adolphus stayed close to emerging technologies and developments that could make expansion possible. One major development was pasteurization, which increased the shelf life of bottled beers by up to four months, and allowed for further shipping. In fact, Adolphus pasteurized his beer before America pasteurized milk. 

Refrigerated rail cars also helped Adolphus ship his beer across long distances, but they were expensive. He took matters into his own hands and started a company to build the rail cars faster, and for less money. A network of rail-side ice houses followed shortly after, and before long, Anheuser-Busch was taking the entire country by storm. 

Before Budweiser was introduced, many Americans were drinking heavy, dark ales. But St. Louis summers were hot – perfect for a palatable, crisp lager. So Adolphus jumped on the opportunity to create and brew a beer that would be perfect for those hot summers. And he always knew a great beer when he tasted one.

Budweiser’s smoothness and drinkability was a success. Thanks to Adolphus’s expansive shipping network, Budweiser quickly became wildly popular not just in St. Louis, but in America. And we’ve stayed true to the recipe ever since. 

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