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.
©2012 William Knoedelseder (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
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.
I don't know who exactly the target audience was for this book, but someone had to know that the St Louis community would be a big part of it...right? But yet no one had the common courtesy to check on the pronunciations of the city's neighborhoods and landmarks...and even the newspaper. Very very distracting!
I loved this book. The author did a wonderful job telling the story of the rise, the wild ride, and the sad decline of an American family brewery.
The narration was one of a kind, extremely well read.
The history of beer in America, the marketing aspect, and the drama of the Bush family.
I haven't but he performed masterfully.
Clydesdales to crabs, and how Budweiser brought them to you.
This would make a great mini-series.
Learning more about the history of AB and the each generation.
The thing that drove me crazy was the mispronunciation of St. Louis locales.
I like non fiction, true adventure, true crime, memoirs,true women,s stories, true espionage, etc.
IT,s basically a business statistics book. There were some wall st. compilations of of ordinary things that happen to modern families that have addicted children, and some un
fleshed out quotes.I skimmed the book.
THey lied about the human interest.
Anger that I spent the money.
Nothing wrong with a German writing about German power here.But be honest about what it is.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
I haven't been a consumer of Anheuser Busch products for well over a decade. It's a part of my life that I just outgrew, but when I was drinking Budweiser was one of my favorites. "Bitter Brew" is an excellent business story, where generations after generations ruin the family business because of their birthrights.
Instead of getting the job base on merits, August Busch IV (The Fourth), became CEO and ruin the legacy of the family and the business. Not only he made really bad business choices for Anheuser Busch, but he was also a big time substance abuser and playboy. It is because of his family's name that he became the head master brewer.
It's really interesting to read these kinds of books. Not only it's informable, but the ultra wealthy crumbles because of birthrights.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.