The decline of the first beer family
The decline of the first beer family
Anheuser-Busch? The 150-year-old Busch company is the product of a marriage between the Anheuser-Busch and Busch families. Known as "the first family of the American beer industry", the Anheuser family has won numerous honors in the major business rankings, and once enjoyed unlimited prosperity. However, after it was bought by InBev in 2008, its "last CEO", August? Busch IV had been quiet for a long time until a recent TIdbits brought him back into the limelight...
The global beer market has seen a flurry of mergers and acquisitions in recent years. The most eye-catching of all was the merger three years ago of InBev, the industry leader, and Anheuser Busch, the runner-up. Although InBev was the leader of the merger, its name was first placed in front of the name of the new company because of its long history and strong brand as the maker of the famous Budweiser beer, forming the situation of "AB InBev" (Anheuser Busch InBev).
At the time, a biographer described August Busch IV as "a man with a reputation and a taste for adventure." But now, no matter how risky, he can hardly restore the family's former glory.
"The King of Beers"
Although the birthplace of beer was ancient Egypt, Germany is the country where beer culture took off. On the Mississippi River in the United States, the beer industry did not take off until the 1850s, when German immigration soared. The two founders of Anheuser-Busch were German immigrants.
In 1852, a German immigrant named George Schneider founded a small brewery in St. Louis on the Mississippi River. Eberhard Anheuser, a soap maker, and fellow German immigrant is a shareholder. In 1860, the brewery encountered financial difficulties, Anheuser took the opportunity to buy all the shares and became the sole owner of the brewery. That same year, Adolf Busch, a 21-year-old German immigrant, opened a brewery in St. Louis and became a supplier to Anheuser.
For Anheuser, a former manufacturer, the wine itself was not a problem, but the marketing of the product was. Soon after he took over the brewery, he found himself hopelessly in debt to his supplier, Adolf, on top of sales. At this point, Adolphe shows just how interested he is in two things: the winery and Anheuser's daughter, Lily. They hit it off, and in 1861, Adolf married Lily and went to work in his father-in-law's factory.
In 1875, Adolf Busch became a partner and the winery was officially renamed Anheuser-Busch. Five years later, the elder Anheuser died and Adolfo became head of the family business.
Unlike his father-in-law, the young Adolf was good at marketing. In the United States at that time, since there was no bottle packaging or refrigerated transportation equipment, draught beer was generally sold locally, and the product did not leave the town. Therefore, the breweries were all small and difficult to grow.
Adolf decided to break the pattern. He first established a chain of cold beer houses in various locations, then approached his friend Carl Conrad and convinced him to sell his newly developed beer bottling technology, which would allow Adolf to ship beer across the country for sale.
With the hardware out of the way, how to find a beer recipe that will please everyone, or at least most people, is even more challenging, given that different breweries have different recipes from place to place and therefore different tastes from place to place. Adolf spent a lot of time traveling around Europe, tasting beers, and finally found a drink in the Czech Republic that "amazed" him -- Budweiser, later known as Budweiser.
Anheuser-Busch began brewing Budweiser beer in 1876. The brewing process takes 30 days, and once brewed, the beer can be kept in a cool place for 110 days. Adolf's taste and judgment were correct, and Budweiser quickly became the king of sales when it was introduced to the American market. At its peak, Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser had a 50 percent market share in the United States -- that is, one out of every two bottles of beer sold in the United States at the time was Budweiser.
Handed down slowly
By the beginning of the 20th century, Anheuser-Busch had sold a million barrels of beer, vastly outselling its competitors and becoming the largest beer company in the United States. And Adolf Bush himself became an icon in his hometown. The Adolfs' 50th wedding anniversary in 1901 became a St. Louis holiday, with a huge party at the local stadium that included 40,000 free bottles of beer and a three-dimensional gold card for the Adolfs.
1913 Adolf W. Bush died at age 74 and his son August became the company's new president. Not long after August took office, the First World War broke out in full force. Then, from 1919 to 1933, Anheuser-Busch faced 14 years of Prohibition and the Great Depression. It was one of the most difficult times in Anheuser-Busch's history. The company was forced to stop brewing beer and make a living by producing soft drinks such as wort and ice cream, as well as products related to the beer industry such as dough and yeast.
August guided the company through its most difficult times, and when he died the year after Prohibition was repealed, his son, Adolf Busch III, took over as president.
Unlike his father, Anheuser-Busch III led the company through World War II, but during World War II, Anheuser-Busch made a series of major advances -- first breaking a production record of 2 million barrels; For the first time, beer in bottles and cans surpassed beer on tap. At the same time, the company opened 12 new breweries and launched several new brands. In addition, during this time, Anheuser-Busch began to diversify into home entertainment, real estate, refrigerated truck transportation, and other areas.
In 1946, George W. Bush III died and his brother, August Adolf W. Bush Jr., became the new president. During the younger Bush's tenure, he refocused the company on beer making, building new breweries, developing new beer brands, and setting up the Aluminum Can Manufacturing Company to ensure a supply of cans to hold beer. Later, Anheuser-Busch became the second largest manufacturer of aluminum cans in the United States.
In 1993, Anheuser-Busch entered China by buying a 5% stake in Tsingtao Brewery (600600), which was publicly offered on the Hong Kong stock market. In 2004, Anheuser-Busch bought Harbin Beer Group, China's fourth-largest brewery, for $739 million; A year later, Anheuser-Busch's strategic investment in Green Beer rose to 27%, making it the largest shareholder after Qingdao State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (later transferred to Xinhuadu (002264) Group). At present, Budweiser has become the number one selling foreign brand in the Chinese market.
In 2002, at the age of 65, Auguste III decided to step aside. In a surprise move, he did not hand over the presidency to his son, August IV, but made Patrick Stokes, a foreigner, president, and CEO of the company. This is the first time in the family's history.
Some say the fact that the late August IV was still unmarried and had a reputation as a "party guy" may have given his father and the board pause. However, Patrick is just a transition. Blood is thicker than water. Four years later, when Auguste III officially retired, the scepter of the family business eventually fell to Auguste IV.
Augustus IV was not an incompetent playboy. He had worked in the family business for nearly 20 years and had worked in every position including brewing, packaging, shipping, marketing, business planning, and sales. In addition to the production line and negotiating table, he also has a talent in advertising, his personally directed commercials have won the "Super Bowl Advertising Award", "Cannes International Advertising Festival Silver Lion" and other awards.
Unfortunately, no one can dominate forever. In 2003, the world's fourth largest beer group, Interbrew of Belgium, merged with AmBev, Brazil's largest beer giant. Anheuser-Busch lost its position as the industry's largest beer company for many years to the newly born InBev. Five years later, Anheuser-Busch accepted the new boss's offer and was acquired by InBev. The takeover, valued at $52 billion, is the biggest ever in the global beer industry. Upon completion of the acquisition, Anheuser-Busch became a wholly owned subsidiary of InBev, and August IV served only as a director of InBev and was not involved in the management or operations of the company. As a result, the Anheuser-Busch family has largely exited the beer business from which it made its fortune and made its name.
Although most shareholders, including Buffett, think the deal makes sense for both sides. But "whether or not he made the right decision, he will be remembered as the man who bought Budweiser." A biographer tells of August IV's predicament