The history of Budweiser dates back to 1860, when German immigrant Adolphus Busch partnered with his father-in-law, Aberhard Anheuser, and formed the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, Missouri. It wasn't until 1876 that Adolphus Busch would develop a lager inspired by a trip to Bohemia which he dubbed Budweiser, aptly named after the town Budweis. The brewing recipe used by Busch was augmented to accentuate the light, crisp flavors of Bohemian-style beers, resulting in what is today called the American-style lager. Budweiser was revolutionary not only in it's taste, but also because of how it was marketed and distributed by the Anheuser-Busch company.
Much of Budweiser's success has been attributed to Adolphus Busch and his reputation as a cunning businessman. From 1876 to the turn of the century, Busch invested his company's future in 3 cutting-edge technologies:
- Bottling made it possible to not only deliver beer to pubs and saloons, but directly to people's homes.
- Pasteurization allowed beer to remain bottle-fresh for months at a time, which meant it could be nationally distributed without going bad.
- Artificial refrigeration meant Busch could brew above ground while dramatically expanding the brewing capacity of his operation. Refrigerated train cars were the key ingredient to the national success of the Anheuser-Busch company. They were used to transport Budweiser to every corner of the country, making it the most popular national beer by the early 20th century.
Anheuser-Busch continued its growth, becoming the nation's largest brewer by the late 1950's. Today Anheuser-Busch is owned and operated by the Belgian company InBev. It accounts for nearly 50% of all beer sales in the US, most of which are spin-off brands of Budweiser.