Area of Achievement: Business & Industry
American businessman and
philanthropist, b. Mainz, Germany. To U.S. (1857); joined
St. Louis brewery of Eberhard Anheuser (1861); president of
Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association (1879-1913); introduced
Budweiser brand; pioneered in pasteurization of beer.
Adolphus Busch was born July
10, 1839 in Kastel (near Mainz, Hesse), Germany. He was second-to-youngest
of twenty-two children of Ulrich Busch and Barbara Pfeiffer
In 1857, Adolphus Bush emigrated
to the United States with no plans, no destination, and nothing
but his own ambition and abilities. Three of his brothers
had already headed for St. Louis, Missouri. His brother John
had opened his own brewery in nearby Washington, Missouri.
Young Adolphus joined Ernst
Wattenberg to sell equipment and supplies to breweries. This
venture led him to forge several strategic partnerships. Most
important, he met his future bride, Lily Anheuser. At the
same time, his brother Ulrich became enamored with her older
Their father, Eberhard Anheuser,
a skilled St. Louis soap and candle-maker, had recently purchased
the failing Bavarian Brewery in St. Louis. He reopened the
brewery as E. Anheuser & Co.
On March 7, 1861, the Anheuser-Busch
interests were formally joined, both professionally and matrimonially.
Eberhard Anheuser escorted both daughters down the aisle in
double nuptials to the two Busch brothers. At the time, Busch
was working for Anheuser as a salesman. (The future malt mogul
and his brother married his boss' daughters.)
Eventually, Busch and Anheuser
became partners and equals. It was the perfect match. Busch
was the consummate marketer, and Anheuser was a skilled manufacturer.
Working for his father-in-law, Busch developed pasteurization
of beer and began marketing the Budweiser brand, which was
named after Bmische Budweis, a town in his homeland of Germany.
In 1876, Busch enlisted the help of his friend Carl Conrad
(a liquor bottler) to develop this Bohemian-style pilsner
beer.A fierce rivalry developed between Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser
beer and an old Czech brand from Budejovice. Since the 16th
Century, the Czechs had called their product "The Beer
of Kings," so Busch began marketing his as "The
King of Beers."
By 1879, Busch was president
of the Anheuuser-Busch Brewing Association. He held this position
for more than 30 years.
His extravagant spending
and elaborate lifestyle have become American folklore. Busch
owned an expansive St. Louis manor, plus two palatial homes
near Pasadena, California. He also had a country estate and
a hops farm near Cooperstown, New York (not far from the Baseball
Hall of Fame), two country villas in Germany, and his own
private railroad car. His landscaping was famous for its fairy
tale figurines, as Busch was a fan of the famed Grimm Brothers.
In 1911, when Adolphus and
Lily marked their 50th wedding anniversary, he presented his
queenly with a diamond tiara. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt,
the emperor of Germany, and other world leaders sent lavish
gifts as well.
He died October 10, 1913
near Langenschwalbach, Germany. His son August took the reins
of the company until his death in 1934. The company has been
headed by a family succession ever since.
Incidentally, the famous
Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale horses did not join the clan until
after his death. In 1933, at the end of Prohibition, a team
of Clydesdales were hitched up to pull the first load of legal
beer from the St. Louis brewery. Company President August
Busch (Adolphus' son) was so taken by the sight that the horses
became a favorite company trademark.
Back to Inductions