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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.

©2012 William Knoedelseder (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • BK
  • 12-11-12

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kay
  • TEMECULA, CA, United States
  • 12-05-12

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Makes History Memorable

This audio book is excellent. The story is real which makes it all the better. The author paints a picture with such detail that you can see the drama unfolding in your mind's eye. The reading was also excellent. This is a book that you will find yourself discussing and thinking about whenever you have a drink. There are only a handful of spots that the story lags, otherwise it is faced paced.

I often try to imagine a future where big corporations rule the economy. This book gives me an insight into what may be the future. Instead of Congress stopping monopoly and oligopoly powers, the businesses may become so big that they fail to deliver their brand promises to the consumer, their stockholders and their employees. Budweiser does have good quality beer but other companies and markets they tried to swallow up failed to be profitable. With the new hedge fund managers who have raped and pillaged the company, you have to ask yourself how long will they continue to have good beer? Will management who is looking for short term profits in the end be the downfall of the company? Will small breweries be able to get a foothold in their local communities if the Budweiser quality is sacrificed for short term profits? Maybe the rise of multi-national corporations gaining power through politicians taking their political contributions is just a phase of capitalism. Maybe they will get so big that they fail.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tim
  • United States
  • 07-03-13

Birthrights

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Mispronunciations galore

Any additional comments?

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!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Bitter, boring business book

What would have made Bitter Brew better?

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<br/>fleshed out quotes.I skimmed the book.

What was most disappointing about William Knoedelseder’s story?

THey lied about the human interest.

Would you be willing to try another one of Peter Berkrot’s performances?

Yes

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger that I spent the money.

Any additional comments?

Nothing wrong with a German writing about German power here.But be honest about what it is.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful