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A Brief History About Budweiser

Aug 24, 2007
The name Budweiser in America, advertised as the King of Beers, has been a mainstay in today's culture. Almost toted as a 'rock' in its industrial strength, but is it a stalworthy as claimed?

It's always Lawyer Time in this little corner of beerland. Budweiser, the flagship beer of Anheuser-Busch and the best-selling brew in America, has been scrapping over the rights to its name for decades, and there's no sign of a letup anytime soon.

The Budweiser saga began in 1876, when the E. Anheuser Brewing Association of St. Louis, Missouri, introduced Budweiser Lager Beer. Founded in 1860 by Eberhard Anheuser, the company was renamed the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association in 1879, recognizing the contribution and leadership of then president Adolphus Busch.

"Bud" was a hit. The decades flew by and Americans guzzled Budweiser by the barrelful (three million barrels per year by 1941, in fact). Americans continued to down Bud in massive quantities, and Budweiser became an American icon.

Meanwhile, in Czechoslovakia, trouble was brewing. It seems that when Eberhard Anheuser named his beer Budweiser, he was paying homage to the beer makers of a Czech town called Ceske Budejovice, known in Anheuser's native Germany as "Budweis." According to the folks in Budweis, their local beer has been known as Budweiser for several hundred years.

In 1895 the Czech brewery Budejovicky Pivovar (mercifully known as Budvar) began producing its own brew, marketing it under the name Budweiser Budvar, and the legal fireworks soon began.

In 1939, Anheuser-Busch and Budvar supposedly buried the trademark hatchet in the United States, giving AnheuserBusch the American rights to the name in exchange for Budvar's ownership of the name Budweiser in much of Europe. But as Anheuser-Busch expanded into and began to dominate international markets, skirmishing flared again. The Czechs even took offense at Budweiser's slogan "The King of Beers," noting that Budweis brewers had called their product "The Beer of Kings" since the sixteenth century. And Budvar partisans pointed out that A-B's Budweiser wasn't even legally considered beer in Germany, where the Reinheitsgebot (Beer Purity Regulations) dating back to 1516 strictly forbid the use of rice in brewing beer.

In recent years plucky Budvar has again won the right to use the names Budweiser and Bud in the European Union countries, but court cases continue to rage from Sweden to Hong Kong. Budvar's current tactic is to sell its beer in the United States as Czechvar, hoping that word of mouth about what they call (in a whisper, of course) "the real Budweiser" will win them the fame in U.S. bars that they have lost, at least for the moment, in the U.S. courts.
About the Author
Angela Abbette writes on a variety of subjects, including food and drink articles similar to the ones found at her favorite article directory.
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