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Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer
Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer
Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer
Audiobook12 hours

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

Written by William Knoedelseder

Narrated by Peter Berkrot

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

4/5

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About this audiobook

The engrossing, often scandalous saga of one of the wealthiest, longest-lasting, and most colorful family dynasties in the history of American commerce-a cautionary tale about prosperity, profligacy, hubris, and the blessings and dark consequences of success.

From countless bar signs, stadium scoreboards, magazine ads, TV commercials, and roadside billboards, the name Budweiser has been burned into the American consciousness as the "King of Beers." Over a span of more than a century, the company behind it, Anheuser-Busch, has attained legendary status. A jewel of the American Industrial Revolution, in the hands of its founders-the sometimes reckless and always boisterous Busch family of St. Louis, Missouri-it grew into one of the most fearsome marketing machines in modern times. In Bitter Brew, critically acclaimed journalist Knoedelseder paints a fascinating portrait of immense wealth and power accompanied by a barrelful of scandal, heartbreak, tragedy, and untimely death.

This engrossing, vivid narrative captures the Busch saga through five generations. At the same time, it weaves a broader story of American progress and decline over the past 150 years. It's a cautionary tale of prosperity, hubris, and loss.

LanguageEnglish
PublisherHarperAudio
Release dateNov 6, 2012
ISBN9780062259714
Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer
Author

William Knoedelseder

William Knoedelseder is the New York Times bestselling author of Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer, as well as the critically acclaimed Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia. His book I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era is the basis for the Showtime series of the same name. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Reviews for Bitter Brew

Rating: 3.8354430379746836 out of 5 stars
4/5

79 ratings7 reviews

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  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Good book, good narrator (audiobook). Although, I just gotta add: the narrator sounded like he had a mix of southern and New York accents, but only occasionally. Interesting to listen to.Anyway, well-crafted history of the Busch brewing company. The older history was much more concise and interesting than recent history. After a while, it got boring reading about the later generations of the family using their pull to get out of legal problems (drunk driving, including a death). The author sounded like he had a vendetta against the recent Busch family, or was just so disgusted with them that he wanted us to for sure know how sleazy the youngest Busch is - detailing car accidents and nightclub activities of Adolph IV. Maybe it's just that more details are present for the younger generation. Whatever it is, it got really old listening to all the details of yet another night out for Adolph IV.Still, an overall good story about the brewing company. Recommend ready for history buffs.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Fascinating account of the Anheuser family. I Would highly recommend this title.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Prior to Bitter Brew I knew nothing about the Busch family, didn't even realize there was a connection to Busch Gardens, thus my cultural ignorance. So this was a great education on the history of the company and family behind Budweiser. I'm of the same Generation X as Bush IV, who began taking up microbrews and imports and considered American to be piss water, epitomized by Budweiser and it's uncertain variants (light, ice etc). So this Schadenfreude of a book went down smooth. In all fairness this is not a legitimate history, it's really a "greatest hits" of the Busch family craziness and mistakes (the successes a given). It was entertaining, thought provoking and in the case of Busch IV, very sad, his days on this earth appear numbered unless he is able to get off drugs. Knoedelseder doesn't explore the obvious irony of a family whose success was built on encouraging increased alcohol consumption, but whose favored son is brought down by drug addiction, part of a bigger story about addiction problems in the modern world.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I lived in St. Louis for 35 years, so I came to know the story of the Busch family very well, and also got to know some of the lessor members of the Busch family. So I was familiar with many of the stories told in this book about the rise and fall of the great American brewery.What I didn't know, however, because I had left the city before it happened was what led to the company's purchase by InBev in the early 2000's. It is almost unbelievable to me how the board of directors could allow August Busch IV to become the CEO of the company when he was not only clearly incompetent, but also a drug addict and an alcoholic.It's a sad story, and only too common these days, how the rich are enabled and protected from being responsible. This man was not only responsible for the collapse of the company and the loss of over 2000 jobs in St. Louis, but he also caused the deaths of two women. He walked away with millions and left others to pick up the pieces. This is a cautionary tale.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    The writing made me wonder "Umm, really?" on several occasions. I stuck with it because of the story.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    What a crazy family!