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Budweiser Clydesdales salute victims of 9/11

September 11, 2011 By: mike Category: History of beer, Video

As people in the Mid-South and across the nation remember the tragic events 10 years ago today, there’s this bit of beer trivia on the Internet.

Anheuser-Busch aired this ad just once – during the Super Bowl in 2002 – to salute the victims and those affects by the 9/11 attacks.

In the one-minute ad – which can still be found on YouTube – the Budweiser Clydesdales traverse snow-covered grounds as they march to New York City. There, they gaze upon the Statue of Liberty and the city’s skyline, then lower their heads and bend their knees to acknowledge the tragedy.

St. Louis beer scene more than just Bud these days, Washington Post says

November 20, 2010 By: mike Category: Beer learnin', Craft beer, Travelin'

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis

The first time I traveled to St. Louis as a man of 21 years, I drove into the city, exited Interstate 55 and headed straight for the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

There was some Cardinals baseball involved in the trip, as well as some live music and general merriment, but the tour of Anheuser-Busch and the free Budwesier beer were the highlight.

Well, in the years since then, my taste in beer has changed, and the beer scene in St. Louis has changed, as well.

As the Washington Post reported Friday in a nice travel story, St. Louis beer isn’t just about Anheuser-Busch anymore.

Ever since the American beer giant was sold to a Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate to become Anheuser-Busch InBev, “St. Louisans are becoming more adventurous with their beer budget,” writes Kristen Hinman

Some have hopes for a back-to-the-future recasting of the early 20th century, when German immigrant-owned brewpubs and beer gardens dotted the city.”

Hinman went on a brewpub crawl, visiting HandleBarSix Row Brewing Co. and Square One Brewery. Also mentioned in the story are Stable brewpub and Morgan Street Brewery.

That’s a lot of brew pubs. And of course St. Louis also has the Schlalfly Tap Room, which was the first brewpub in Missouri. Schlafly’s Dry-Hopped APA is one of my favorites.

Looks like I need to head back soon.

This Bud’s for free. But who really wants it?

September 29, 2010 By: mike Category: Beer in the news, Craft beer, Opinion

Who doesn’t like free beer?

Beer titan Anheuser-Busch is betting that drinkers will take that offer and give their flagship brand a second (or third, or forth, or … just fill in the blank) chance today as part of a “National Happy Hour.”

Anheuser-Busch will distribute free 6- to 12-ounce samples of Budweiser at bars and restaurants, depending on local and state rules.

I haven’t heard how this is going to work in Tennessee.

But the gimmick will be held in conjunction with the launch of a new Budweiser ad campaign with the slogan, “Grab some Buds.”

The goal, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is to revive a brand that saw its U.S. market share peak in 1988 at 26 percent, but declined to 9.3 percent last year.

We want to close that gap,” A-B President Dave Peacock said.

The brewer hopes to eventually hand out 500,000 samples of Budweiser. Last month, Peacock announced plans to “draw a line in the sand” and turn around Budweiser.

The free beer and ad campaign are the first outward signs of how the company plans to do that.

According to a recent story in USA Today, with details from a survey by Brand Keys, Budweiser has fallen from No. 16 in 2003 on a list of brands ranked by customer loyalty, to No. 220 this year. No wonder they’ve decided to give the stuff away.

The promotion comes as upscale consumers are turning to craft beers, the price-conscious are trading down, and others switched to light beers. “It’s a triple whammy,” says Michael Bellas, CEO at Beverage Marketing.

I’ve been known to drink a Budweiser (or 3) on occasion. But beer drinkers’ tastes are changing. We want quality beer we can taste.

While overall beer sales fell by 2 percent last year, the first decline in six years, the craft segment has continued to grow, The Chicago Tribune reported recently. (The Brewers Association defines craft brewers as “independent” brewers with an annual production of beer less than 2 million barrels.)

While craft beers still account for just 4.5 percent of U.S. consumption, sales have increased by about 50 percent over the last five years.

That’s tremendous growth. And as a result, big breweries are trying to get in on the action.

Anheuser-Busch may be making a play at the Craft Brewers Alliance, makers of Redhook and the seller of the Samuel Adams brands, The Street has reported.

MillerCoors, meanwhile, has established an independent division, called Tenth and Blake Beer Co., to bring focus to its craft and import beers, including Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, Peroni, Pilsner Urquell and Grolsch, according to beernews.org.

The number of craft breweries has skyrocketed in the past three decades, from 8 in 1980, to 537 in 1994, to 1,501 in 2008, based on figures from the Brewers Association.

And the industry is delivering with unique beer that boasts of flavor and character unlike anything coming out of St. Louis.

So give me a Sierra Nevada. Give me a Fat Tire.

Keep the free suds, Bud.