Friday, March 21, 2008

Who owns your beer? Anheuser Bush Edition

Lately the big boys at BMC have been disguising some of their beers. The most common example of this is Blue Moon, which is brewed by Coors. There are many more examples of this in the brewing world. Many of the large breweries are producing beer under different names. What many people do not know is that many import beers are brought into the states and distributed by the American macro breweries. This entry will focus on the largest brewery in the United States and 4th largest in the world:

Founded: 1852
Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri
Revenue: 15 billion (2006)

Base Brands:

Hurricane and King Cobra: the "homeless-friendly-priced" malt liquors of AB. High in alcohol and quantity per container (often sold in the nefarious 40 ounce bottle, where legal), low in cost. Fun Fact: as a boy I grew up frequenting Busch Gardens. I used to see the King Cobra logo on the scrolling advertisements in the hospitality house. I desperately wanted Dad to sample it but he informed me "that's a malt liquor son."

Natural (including Light and Ice): the quintessential frat-party beer, often affectionately known as "Natty". This is in A-B's "value" line of beers.

Busch (including: Busch, Ice, and Light): another "value" brand of AB. Like Natty above it but with a more "grown up" image. Also: Majestic Rocky Mountains

Budweiser (including: Budweiser, Light, Dry, Ice, Ice Light, and Select): one of AB's "standard" brands. Bud Light is their best-selling beer in America and Budweiser is the best-selling beer in the world, period.

Michelob (including: Ultra, Ultra Amber, Light, Lager, Honey Lager, AmberBock, Porter, Golden Draft, and Golden Draft Light): AB's "premium" line of beers, these generally contain more malt and less adjuncts. Michelob Ultra is the best-seller in this line. Fun Fact: the first "dark" beer I ever drank was AmberBock, it was my beer of choice for many years in college. I like to call it my "gateway beer". I remember how sophisticated and cultured I thought I was because I drank AmberBock rather than the "crappy swill" everyone else was drinking.

Bacardi Malt Beverages: the clear, sweet, beverages designed to appeal to women and underage drinkers. There has been legal debate lately over whether they should have the word "malt" in their title. Only small amounts of the alcohol in these drinks(if any) is malted-barley-derived. Includes: Raz, Watermelon, O3, Mojito, Pomegranate Mojito, Peach, and Strawberry.
Tilt: AB's entry into the energy drink/malt beverage category. Basically a simple beer that has been drenched in corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, and caffeine.

Beers they brew, but do not directly attach their name to:
Sun Dog Amber Wheat: American-style wheat beer, spring seasonal.
Spring Heat Spiced Wheat/Shock Top Belgian White: started as a seasonal Belgian white-style ale, brewed to compete with Blue Moon.
Winters Bourbon Cask Ale: sweet beer with decent alcohol content, a winter seasonal.
Bare Knuckle Stout: nitro-tap dry Irish-style stout brewed to compete with Guinness.
ZiegenBock: version of Amber Bock brewed exclusively for distribution in Texas.
Wild Blue: 8% abv sweet fruit beer. I have never seen this available for purchase here in Oklahoma.
Landshark Lager: pale lager beer initially available only in Florida, it has since reached wider distribution.
Tarpon Spoon: Bohemian-style pilsner available in Florida.
Lone Palm Ale: amber ale brewed for Margaritaville by AB's Jacksonville brewery.
Aruba Red: amber ale brewed for Bahama Breeze Restaurant Chain
Stonemill Pale Ale: an organic pale ale.

Domestic beers distributed by AB, but not brewed by them:
Redhook beers: started as a small microbrewery in Seattle, WA. Redhook's most well-known beer is their ESB.
Widmer Brothers: one of the first members of the craft brewery revolution, based in Portland, OR. Their most well-known beer is Widmer Hefeweizen, an American-style wheat beer.

Beers imported and distributed(but not brewed) by AB
Bass Pale Ale: an ESB from England. Fun Fact: the Bass logo is the oldest trademark in existence.
Beck's (regular, Light, Dark, Oktoberfest): from North Germany, generally not highly regarded among beer critics. It is not brewed in Bavaria and is not one of the official Oktoberfest breweries. Has typical green bottle skunk syndrome.
Boddington's Pub Ale: a bitter brewed in Manchester. Poured from a nitrogen tap or canned with a nitrogen widget, resulting in a creamy mouthfeel lacking in carbonation. Contrary to popular belief, it is inappropriate to call this beer a "cream ale".
Czechvar: a bohemian pilsner brewed in the Czech Republic. Volumes could be written on this beer alone. In the rest of the world this brew is known as "Budweiser Budvar". Curiously, AB now imports and distributes this beer in the states...and is still actively engaged in lawsuits over their using "Budweiser" in their name.
Grolsch (regular, Amber Ale, Blonde Lager, Light Lager): probably best known for their use of expensive, green, flip-top bottles; these beers are brewed in the Netherlands.
Kirin (Ichiban and Light): Japanese pale lager beers are similar to BMC beer in that it is extremely light in color and often brewed with rice. Kirin Light available in the states is contract-brewed by Molson in Canada. Kirin Brewery is the seventh largest brewery in the world.
Leffe (Blonde and Brune): these Belgian abbey ales(the blonde is a Belgian pale ale while the brune is a dubbel) are not brewed by an actual monastery but are affiliated with Notre Dame de Leffe which receives profits from the sales of these brews.
Löwenbräu: One of the six major Munich breweries at Oktoberfest (albeit the least respected). This green-bottled beer with the blue lion emblem is a Munich Helles-style lager.
Stella Artois: pronounced "Stell-uh Are-twah", this is a pale lager brewed in Belgium. Stella was originally brewed as a seasonal Christmas beer but became a year-round beer due to its popularity. Stella is marketed as a premium brand outside of Belgium (where it is just an everyday common lager beer). This beer is known as the "wife beater" in Britain.
Tennent's Lager: one, if not the, most popular beers in Scotland. This beer is another green-bottled pale lager. Not-so-fun Fact: I had a hard time finding traditional Scottish ales while visiting Edinburgh. This beer, however, was everywhere.

Brewery bought out by AB:
Rolling Rock(Extra Pale and Green Light): this brewery was acquired by AB in 2006.


Marc said...

Landshark Lager: pale lager beer available in Florida.

I've seen it around here in OKC as well at some of the local bars.

Juliana said...

Beer cupcakes? I saw this recipe and thought of you:

Anonymous said...

The second I tasted Landshark I knew it was AB. It is thin and tasteless, just like AB's one other beer: Budweiser/Busch/Michelob/NaturalLight.

It's all the same, I find it chemical genius how AB can brew so many types of beers that are absolutely devoid of taste. Water with Ethanol added.

PremiumBitter said...

It's quite amazing isn't it? They are very good at what they do: making beer with very little taste.

Landshark Lager is obviously made and marketing to snag drinkers of a certain clear-bottled Mexican lager beer.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting all the beers that AB "brews" and yet won't directly attach they name to it. They need to stick with BUD and BUDLIGHT and quit ruining the craft image with BL wheat and the import image with Landshark Lager and Budlight Lime...neither are even close to Corona!

Anonymous said...

hi - they don't make Grolsch.