Bitter Brew

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

3.99 (3,052 ratings by Goodreads)

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Stretching across three centuries, from the start of the Civil War through two World Wars and Prohibition to today, Bitter Brew tells the astonishing story of how five generations of men-fathers, sons, and brothers - took a small, bankrupt brewery on the banks of the Mississippi and built it into an international colossus. It is the story of America's past and present-a tale of promise and fulfillment for immigrants like Adolphus Busch, determined to strike it rich; and of a modern generation who squandered that dream. It is a story of breathtaking wealth, political power, and public acclaim-and of heartbreak, scandal, tragedy, and death. In chronicling the rise and fall of the Busch family and its business, veteran journalist William Knoedelseder tells a broader story of American progress and decline over the last 150 years.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 166 x 232 x 34mm | 594g
  • HarperBusiness
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 8 Page Black and White Photo Insert
  • 0062009265
  • 9780062009265
  • 588,751

Back cover copy

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.
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Review quote

"Bitter Brew deftly chronicles the contentious succession of kings in a uniquely American dynasty. You'll never crack open a six again without thinking of this book." -- John Sayles, Director of "Eight Men Out" and author of A Moment in the Sun "As the Busch family goes, so goes America. Bill Knoedelseder has taken their multi-generational saga and boiled it down into a heartfelt, hilarious ode to beer, baseball and business." -- Michael London, Academy Award-nominated producer of "Sideways" "A great American story told as well and it could be told. I'll never drink a Bud the same way again." -- Larry Leamer, bestselling author of the Kennedy family trilogy, The Kennedy Women, The Kennedy Men and Sons of Camelot "An engrossing behind-the-scenes look at one of America's most successful and familiar brands." -- Kirkus "[A] thoroughly researched and thoughtfully written book." -- Publishers Weekly "...well-written, and thoroughly documented company history...VERDICT A real-life family saga, this book is full of domestic and company details, some of which are sordid, others commendable. Recommended for readers interested in the backstory behind the King of Beers." -- Library Journal "An engrossing saga of the Busch family, one of the wealthiest, longest-lasting, and most colorful family dynasties in the history of American commerce." -- USA Today "[I]ntoxicating reading... This is a lurid, fascinating tale, which narrowly escapes the charge of being sensationalist thanks to its factual grounding and the significance of its subject-a family business that managed to dominate an industry but could not get its own dysfunction under control." -- Wall Street Journal "[An] engaging narrative." -- Daily Beast
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About William Knoedelseder

William Knoedelseder was a longtime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and he has been a television news executive for Knight Ridder, Fox, and the USA Network. His books include Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia, and I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era. He lives in Woodland Hills, California.
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Rating details

3,052 ratings
3.99 out of 5 stars
5 27% (834)
4 49% (1,499)
3 20% (601)
2 3% (92)
1 1% (26)
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