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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King is gone...
Wow - I never thought I would say a book about Anheuser-Busch brewing history would be a page turner but I'm happily wrong. The story hits on all cylinders in my opinion. Yes, it's a story filled with scandal about a really colorful family. But it's more than that. It talks to what I think is wrong with today's corporate culture as well. How businesses in this country...
Published 19 months ago by Sean MacMillan

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Same song.....
After reading Dethroning the King, there wasn't much new in this book. Dethroning the King was mostly about rise and fall of the company, but had plenty about the family, too. Bitter Brew was mostly about the family, but had plenty about the company, too. Dethroning the King had more meat to it than Bitter Brew....also less repetition throughout the book.
Published 19 months ago by Patricia O. Davis


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King is gone..., December 7, 2012
By 
Sean MacMillan (Bernardsville, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer (Hardcover)
Wow - I never thought I would say a book about Anheuser-Busch brewing history would be a page turner but I'm happily wrong. The story hits on all cylinders in my opinion. Yes, it's a story filled with scandal about a really colorful family. But it's more than that. It talks to what I think is wrong with today's corporate culture as well. How businesses in this country started out good but have become corrupted over the years. Through the good and bad, the Busch family played a major part in the American business landscape. It was great to see the whole story unfold and tough to see the kingdom come down in the end. Bill does a great job of setting the table and keeping your interest throughout the book. I'm not kidding when I say you won't want to put this down.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down, November 11, 2012
This review is from: Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer (Hardcover)
I live in the metropolitan St. Louis area and the Busch family is part of the culture and history here. I found this book to be intriguing and a bit sad as well. Money really cannot buy you happiness and this book tells the family's tragic story. Well written and engrossing. I literally could not put it down.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tastes Great, Less Filling, November 13, 2012
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This review is from: Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer (Hardcover)
This book is really good. I just wanted more and hope it's not the last word about the rise and fall of the Anhauser-Busch and the extended Busch family, the royal family of St. Louis and their castle on Grant's Farm. It is the best post-WWII chronicle to date of the company and to a lesser extent of St. Louis itself. Every page is replete with larger than life characters and urban legends that have been whispered about in St. Louis for decades.

If August A. Busch III ever tells his story it would be fascinating but given the sad, sad story of his son "The Fourth" I can understand if he remains silent. Telling the truth might amount to kicking a man while he is down. Hopefully, there will be a book some day about the comeback, personally and professionally, of August A. Busch IV.

"Bitter Brew" largely glosses over the early years of the brewery and the culture that produced one of the world's most recognizable brands. It also just touches upon the descent of the company since the InBev takeover as necessary cost cutting has replaced tradition and what built Budweiser in the first place. One can make a case that InBev saved the company from itself and at least there is no evidence that they have compromised on quality. I would have also liked it to address issues such as the battles over the original Budvar brewery in the Czech Republic and Gussie Busch's role as a civic leader who helped St. Louis avoid racial riots in the 1960's. A full scale biography of Gussie would be at the top of my Christmas wish list. In the meantime "Bitter Brew" will leave the reader, especially anyone interested in the beer business or family dynasties thirsty for more, just like a guy who wants more than one Budweiser after a hard days work. I could not put this book down.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Same song....., December 11, 2012
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After reading Dethroning the King, there wasn't much new in this book. Dethroning the King was mostly about rise and fall of the company, but had plenty about the family, too. Bitter Brew was mostly about the family, but had plenty about the company, too. Dethroning the King had more meat to it than Bitter Brew....also less repetition throughout the book.
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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A COMPREHENSIVE TALE OF WEALTH, POWER, AND LOSS!", November 6, 2012
This review is from: Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer (Hardcover)
William Knoedelseder chronicles a behind-the-scenes look at one of America's successful and popular brands of beer in this fascinating and colorful portrait of the bright side and dark side of success, and its consequences. A thought-provoking, well-researched and engrossing story about success, power, and tragedy.This saga portrays the legendary status of the family behind 'The King Of Beers.' As the famous Busch family goes down the tubes, it brings America down, and after reading this heartfelt story, one will never drink a bud and feel the same way again. The author delivers a detailed analysis about American progress and decline over the last 150 years in this amazing tale of loss. Although Knoedelseder describes the history of a powerful company in a heartwarming and hilarious ode to beer and business, he also includes concise information as to where it all began, and the sadness for its decline. An intriguing and interesting tale of how the 'King Of Beer' lost its crown! Interesting, powerfully moving, and Highly Recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The rise and fall of American royalty, November 24, 2013
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This review is from: Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer (Hardcover)
More a biography of the Busch family than it is a book about their beer empire, it was compelling nonetheless, with sons conspiring against fathers, orgies, and the final, tragic and sad collapse of the empire when their drug-addict CEO, after having pushed his dad out of the way, let the company fall out of Busch hands for the first time in 150 years.

As a longtime beer geek I enjoyed this more than I expected. I should have disliked it, largely because I expected to be reading about the beer industry and instead ended up reading about a quirky, unusual family. Didn't matter, though, because their story was so compelling I didn't CARE that my expectations were thrown off.

If you want a book on the beer industry, this one is fairly light (though there is some worthwhile material here), but if you want a book on the rise and fall of American royalty, this is it.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor research and editing, March 16, 2013
By 
groucho33 "groucho33" (Brooklyn Hts., Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer (Hardcover)
I looked forward to reading this book and it is in fact an enjoyable read. But...

You may know that Anheuser-Busch owned the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team for over 40 years. There are of course many references to the team in the book -- how its purchase came about, the players, the successes, the flops. And as a baseball historian, I'm fairly familiar with much of this part of the story.

So it bothers me as I read the book (halfway through) to find errors among the most simple things. The author calls outfielder Curt Flood a Hall of Famer. Curt Flood is NOT a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The author also spells Dal Maxvill's last name "Maxville" and calls him a second baseman (both in the same sentence). Maxvill played only 185 games at second base, 1,207 at shortstop.

These are simple things, easily researchable and verifiable. And you may think I'm nitpicking. But when I find errors about the things I KNOW about, I start to wonder what errors are in the other 95 percent of the book in regard to subjects I'm not as familiar with. How many mistakes are there in the references to the running of the brewery, and people's private lives?

I find this more and more in non-fiction books these days. The author doesn't do his or her homework and the editors don't do their jobs.

As a point of reference, the copy I'm reading is a first edition and you can find the errors referred to above on pages 81 and 111.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So interesting, and a slice of history revealing corporate management of a different time... or maybe not..., February 10, 2014
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The connections to the rest of the world's event, the people and their understanding of their place in the world and the company, and the building of a world class brand is wonderfully revealed - it would be a great book for anyone loving history, business, and how easily it all crumbles.

It flowed easily and was an easy read, without so much data or detail to be cumbersome, but with enough to help demonstrate the "why?" behind the "what happened?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a lively look at Anheuser Busch, February 8, 2014
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This is an entertaining, almost page-turning, look at the Anheuser Busch beer company, its history, and the Busch family members who ran the company, dealt with prohibition and the return from prohibition. Also touched on were the impact of Anheuser Busch on the city of St Louis and even a bit about the company's ownership of the St Louis Cardinals baseball team.

The Busch family members who ran the brewing company were quite colorful, particularly Gussie Busch, making this quite an interesting book. Not dry at all. Loved it!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a reqd of an overindulged family living outside the rules. Well presented., December 5, 2012
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Some families live by the rules and others believe they are above because of their fortunes. Yes they work hard for the largess, but that isn't license to lie cheat and kill. Ultimately the house collapses. Very sad accounting of what could have been.
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Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer
Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer by William Knoedelseder (Hardcover - November 6, 2012)
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