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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 (351 )
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4.4 (316 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dave 03-02-17
    Dave 03-02-17 Member Since 2014
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    "A family as bland as it's product"

    Solid and clear writing, but a family not that interesting by ultra-wealthy standards. If the Hearst family were whiskey, then the Busches were...well, Bud Light. Recommended reading for St. Louis history buffs. Narration is top notch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Edmunds Davis, CA USA 02-13-17
    R. Edmunds Davis, CA USA 02-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    "Intriguing and informative"

    This offered insight into the American beer industry on a grand scale - from the founding of AB, to the turmoil of prohibition, and beyond. Wrought with family drama and interesting cultural history, this is still a worthwhile read even for those who are not involved with the brewing industry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    6
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    "Great true story."

    I loved it. Great true story. I have been to Grant's Farm and the StLouis brewery and have been a AB drinker my whole adult life. But I think will be switching to Kraftig after listening to this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy 01-25-16
    Andy 01-25-16
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    1
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    Story
    "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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    Story
    "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
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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
  •  
    Vicki CAMERON, SC, United States 03-02-13
    Vicki CAMERON, SC, United States 03-02-13 Member Since 2011
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    "This Buds For You!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA, United States 01-15-13
    Dan HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA, United States 01-15-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Entertaining and Educational"
    What made the experience of listening to Bitter Brew the most enjoyable?

    The narration was one of a kind, extremely well read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The history of beer in America, the marketing aspect, and the drama of the Bush family.


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

    I haven't but he performed masterfully.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Clydesdales to crabs, and how Budweiser brought them to you.


    Any additional comments?

    This would make a great mini-series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BK 12-11-12
    BK 12-11-12

    BK

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    "Well researched"
    Did Peter Berkrot do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    It's too bad Berkrot didn't do as good a job researching things as the author did. Mispronouncing "Carondolet" might excusable for a non-St. Louisan, but to mispronounce Stuart Symington's name and Red Schoendienst's name is NOT excusable. His voice is pleasant enough, and I enjoyed listening, I just wish he'd have checked some things first.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay TEMECULA, CA, United States 12-05-12
    Kay TEMECULA, CA, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Very Interesting"
    What made the experience of listening to Bitter Brew the most enjoyable?

    Learning more about the history of AB and the each generation.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The thing that drove me crazy was the mispronunciation of St. Louis locales.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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