The world of big-beer has been rocked with mergers and acquisitions for some time now. It’s been an ongoing thing around the world. There is more news on the way – August Busch IV has announced that he will be stepping down from his position as a director for Anheuser-Busch InBev. This will mark the final severing of ties between Anheuser-Busch and the family that founded the company.
In the Beginning
Anheuser-Busch got its start when Adolphus Busch joined forces with his father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser, in the late 1800s. The company met with enormous success largely due to innovations introduced by Busch such as rail-side icehouses and the adoption of the pasteurization process that allowed the beer to be shipped across the country. It was largely due to these steps that the brand was able to become one of the most recognized in America. Interestingly, it was not until 1891 that Anheuser-Busch purchased the name Budweiser from the original owner, Carl Conrad.
The 2000s marked troubled times for the giant brewer as the economy began to spiral out of control. An initial offer from InBev was rejected, though the second attempt was more successful. Rumors that InBev wooed Anheuser-Busch investors circulated rampantly, but eventually the deal was done. August Busch IV was one of the most noted detractors of the deal and fought hard to keep it from going through.
The InBev buyout was one of the most-talked about changes in the brewing world, though it did not affect consumers very much. However, for the more than 2,000 people who were laid off as a result, it was certainly a huge deal. The conglomerate went on to make many other changes, including changing pay scales for employees (that notably ended up worse for the employees), changing corporate offices, the selling off of private jets and other actions to help reduce Anheuser-Busch’s debt level.
August Busch IV was given a place on the conglomerate’s board, but many felt the move was largely ceremonial and designed to keep him “quiet and out of the way.” The same day that Anheuser-Busch announced they were purchasing Goose Island, the announcement that Busch was stepping down from the board was also made.
This ends the legacy of the Busch family, the founders of one of the world’s largest brewing empires. It’s a sad time and best noted by hoisting a pint in honor of the departing Busch.