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Bitter Brew Audiobook

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

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 William Knoedelseder (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (286 )
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4.4 (256 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jeremy McGough Midwest 11-09-12
    Jeremy McGough Midwest 11-09-12 Member Since 2015

    Just me

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    "Couldn't stop listening..."
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great story detailing the blood sweat and tears associated with building and ultimately losing one of America iconic companies / brands. I have lived in St. Louis for nearly 4 years now and this story has given me an entirely new perspective on the big brewery and the family that built it. I would reccomend this book to almost anyone who has an interest in history, business or even general drama.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Chester, MD, United States 12-02-12
    Michael Chester, MD, United States 12-02-12 Member Since 2015

    World Explorer

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    "Pass the Beer and Ammunition"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bitter Brew to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version of Bitter Brew but there is a great PDF attached to the download for pics and charts.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Forth is my favorite as he is leaving an incredible path of death and destruction in his wake.


    Have you listened to any of Peter Berkrot’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I do plan to listen to his other books in the future.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was broken into 3 parts, and I finished it in less than a week as I found it very interesting. I think they should make it into a TV mini series.


    Any additional comments?

    I live in St. Louis so the book is a must read for people living in the Lou, but people from other places will enjoy the book if they have ever drank a beer or wondered what rich people do when they have no morals or common sense.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BenRias Los Angeles 11-18-15
    BenRias Los Angeles 11-18-15
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    "Detailed history of A-B"

    I enjoyed the book, though the beginning was a little slow. Like a biography, the book started at the beginning with establishing the family. It was a necessary inclusion for this particular family that was so intertwined with the corporation, but it was still a little slow starting off. The rest was great.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 10-08-13
    Deborah 10-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Every St. Louisian should read"
    Where does Bitter Brew rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best told stories of St. Louis history. This is a book every person in St. Louis should read. So full of a colorful history of one of our city's icon company's rise and fall.


    What does Peter Berkrot bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Peter Berkrot reads the story as though he was there and experienced every event and episode. He has a great voice, easy to listen to for long periods of time. I could not put it down (turn it off).


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terence Dahlonega, GA, United States 04-23-13
    Terence Dahlonega, GA, United States 04-23-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Fascinating Story Well Told"
    Any additional comments?

    I'm more of a wino than a beer drinker, but this is a really interesting story. It's extremely well written and well narrated. I would highly recommend this audio book to anyone interested in the history of American business. Informative and entertaining at the same time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayle Hallgren-Rezac Vancouver, BC 03-29-13
    Gayle Hallgren-Rezac Vancouver, BC 03-29-13 Member Since 2009

    I love books, but I particularly love audio books. What a luxury to have someone like Campbell Scott read you to sleep.

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    "Don't Have to Care About Beer to Enjoy this Story"
    What made the experience of listening to Bitter Brew the most enjoyable?

    This history of Anheuser-Busch is fascinating, the wealth, the power and the disfunction. A very well-written, page turning history lesson. One character is more fascinating than the next. I am waiting for someone to do a cable series on this family.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Most of the characters were flawed and that made the story more compelling.


    What does Peter Berkrot bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Peter Berkrot is an excellent narrator. Doesn't get in the way of the story, no over-acting.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brntsllvn Seattle, WA 11-15-12
    brntsllvn Seattle, WA 11-15-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Great story! Hard to believe it is true."

    Really enjoyed this book! Narrator executes well but feel he may have been a bad choice for purely tonal reasons.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy 01-25-16
    Andy 01-25-16
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    "Fantastic Book, Amazing Story and a Broken Heart"
    What did you love best about Bitter Brew?

    It was a fascinating look into the lives of the Busch family. Amazing story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    August IV


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Amazement - All the money in the world won't buy you happiness.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a must listen book. If you are from St. Louis or in the business world, you have to listen to this story. It was very well done, listens very easily and will shock you with all its ups and downs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 06-25-13
    Barbara 06-25-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Compelling story & I don't even like beer!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I think that this book would appeal to everyone. I hesitate to say I'm a St. Louisan because you don't have to be a local (or a beer drinker) to be facinated by this story! AB was huge nationally as well as locally but as a St. Louisan, it really is a sad story about a tragic family and the loss of another major business to foreign investors. It's another example of truth being more compelling than fiction!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes! I binged on it!


    Any additional comments?

    Whose job is it to research the pronunciation of local place names? There were several errors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate W. St. Louis, MO. USA 04-15-13
    Nate W. St. Louis, MO. USA 04-15-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An American Family Empire Down the Drain"

    I worked at A-B for several years and can attest first-hand to the Busch family cult of personality described in "Bitter Brew." If anything, I found it to be even more palpable and all-consuming in the corporate culture than what is described in the book.

    The decades-long story that unfolds is fascinating in a way akin to reading about a royal family -- the aspirations, the battles, the treacheries, the grudges, and the grooming of heirs are all the same.

    In this way, I see the whole thing as less a cautionary tale of cutthroat capitalism, than a tragic account of fatal and flawed family dynamics.

    My only complaint is that Knoedelseder's telling is more plain and flatly journalistic than the vivid subject matter deserved, and in the end could've benefitted from more descriptive analysis into the meaning of it all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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