Of the 3 big, domestic beer brands, I’ll drink Miller first, then Coors, and, if for some reason no alternative exists, then Bud. Still, I’m always game for an interesting non-fiction story, so I gave William Knoedelseder’s Bitter Brew a chance. I was rewarded with a surprisingly tasty story.*
I had no idea the family behind the rise of Anheuser-Busch was so dramatic and troubled. While providing a detailed history of the Anheuser-Busch company, Knoedelseder incorporates insider perspectives and the reality-show-worthy details of the Busch family. Knoedelseder focuses on the main family patriarchs and CEOs, creating a story primarily centered on the father-son combinations of the August Anheuser Busches (Sr., Jr., III, and IV) – each of which spent time running the company.
The hard-drinking, wealthy, womanizing Busch men aren’t a lovable group of protagonists, but Knoedelseder weaves the (often distant) father-son relationships into the company’s history so smoothly, each chapter of Bitter Brew goes down easy. *
Check out Bitter Brew if you’re interested in the history of beer, business history, or dysfunctional families.