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Bud goes Belgian

But then again ...

Full disclosure: I don’t drink Bud. Years ago when I was first learning to enjoy a frosty cold gold beverage I was over-served the “King of Beers.” Along with some other symptoms I had an acute gastric disturbance. The sort of thing my father-in-law would call a “Fizzic.” Ever since that day I just steer clear. It’s no doubt me and not the brew, because, after all, it is consumed in mass quantity, and not all those beer drinkers are running to the can all the time, are they?

The big news is that Bud has been bought by the Belgium brewer In-Bev for $52 billion (with a B) bucks. Or Euros or whatever the Belgium people use for cash. In-Bev owns almost every beer in the world like Bass Ale, Beck’s, Stella Artois and more. Budweiser, or rather its parent company Anheuser-Busch, also owns a bunch of brews including one that used to be made right here in good old Pennsylvania, Rolling Rock.

I wrote the following when Anheuser-Busch took over Rolling Rock:

“The beer world suffered a great disturbance the other day when the doors of the Latrobe brewing company closed for the last time. The much beloved Rolling Rock beer which since 1939 has been pouring out of the glass-lined tanks in Old Latrobe will now come from an Anheuser-Busch plant in Newark, N.J. It just doesn’t sound as good, does it? From glass-lined tanks in New Jersey? It sounds like it could be a chemical when you put it that way.”

This was published here in the Weekender and broadcast on my radio show.

I received an immediate response from someone working for the local Bud distributor.

I don’t have the e-mail anymore, but the gist was this:

“Comparing making beer to chemicals just shows how stupid and ignorant you are about beer making. And anyway, we toured the Latrobe brewery and we couldn’t find any God damn glass-lined tanks! Maybe you should join us at a brewery to see how it’s really done.”

I took him up immediately on his offer but he never responded.

Now I have been in many breweries in my life and sampled a fair amount of the various brews of the world, but I don’t claim to be a connoisseur or an expert. I do know that a principal ingredient in all beer, ale or lager or pilsner or lambic or what have you, is water. Chemical formula H2O.


The Belgium In-Bev guys have made a lot of promises. They will still keep all the U.S. Bud breweries open. They won’t change the name. But will it still be “The Great American Lager?” Only time will tell.

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