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One of the main drivers of Anheuser-Busch's success over the past 150 years has been its ingenuity and innovation in advertising and marketing. As times changed, Anheuser-Busch always has created new ways to connect beer drinkers with its products.
The Early Years, 1852 - 1900s
In the 1880s, Adolphus Busch became the first brewer to use a multi-year, single-themed, coordinated advertising campaign when he introduced the Budweiser Girl wall hangings. These lithographic prints and self-framed tin signs lasted into the 1910s and consisted of nine different representations of beautiful women, most holding a strategically visible bottle of Budweiser.
By far, one of Anheuser-Busch's most famous and recognized wall hangings was "Custer's Last Fight." Adolphus obtained ownership of the original Cassilly Adams painting in 1888. In 1896 the company began distributing thousands of lithographic renditions to saloons, hotels, restaurants and stores - making it one of Anheuser-Busch's most successful advertising pieces.
In addition to trendsetting in point-of-sale, Adolphus pioneered the advertising technique known as the giveaway - inexpensive items like match safes or cork pulls that featured the Anheuser-Busch name or logo. The most well-known piece, the pocketknife, was used by Adolphus in place of a calling card and featured a peephole with his portrait.
Adolphus Busch was a master at marketing his products, realizing different brands suited different tastes. In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Anheuser-Busch had more than 15 brands on the market and targeted them at different consumers. For example, Michelob, introduced in 1896, was marketed as a "draught beer for connoisseurs" and limited to select, high-end, retail outlets.
The Modern Marketing Age, 1950s - present
After World War II, Anheuser-Busch entered into a time of prosperity and growth. In 1955, August A. Busch, Jr. made a personal television appearance to introduce the first successful new beer brand since Prohibition, Busch Bavarian. To help market the brand, August Jr. tied Busch to America's national pastime: baseball.
In the 1950s, Anheuser-Busch tapped into the growing medium of television and became the first brewery to sponsor a network television show, "The Ken Murray Show," on CBS in 1950. Popular campaigns, such as "Pick-a-Pair," which urged customers to buy not one but two six-packs at a time, helped make Anheuser-Busch the leading U.S. brewer in 1957 - a position it retains today.
In the 1970s, advertising featuring memorable slogans helped keep Anheuser-Busch's products in the forefront of consumers' minds. Budweiser's 1979 "This Bud's for You" campaign saluted everyday life, while late 1970s and early 1980s marketing for Busch featured the tag line "Head for the Mountains," as well as the popular "Bussscchhh!" sound of a can being opened.
In April 1982, Budweiser Light was introduced nationally into the burgeoning light beer market and promoted as an extension of its namesake's quality and heritage. Marketing played a key role in Bud Light's introduction; the first advertising theme, "Bring out your Best," focused on the classic Budweiser Clydesdales. In 1994, Bud Light became the number one favorite light beer in the United States thanks in part to popular slogans like "Make it a Bud Light."
Today, Anheuser-Busch continues to satisfy diverse tastes by marketing more than 100 varieties of beer and alcohol beverages. In 2008, Anheuser-Busch celebrated its 10th consecutive USA TODAY "Ad Meter" victory. The USA TODAY "Ad Meter" is a real-time consumer poll that ranks Super Bowl ads throughout the game.
A History of Giving: Supporting Communities Around the Globe
Anheuser-Busch has long been known for its philanthropic efforts, whether it's through our financial support of nonprofit organizations, donations of canned water to relief agencies or through the volunteer efforts of our employees. Our commitment to extend support to the communities where we live and work is deeply rooted in our company culture.
Anheuser-Busch first provided relief to victims of natural disasters in the late 1800s, when Adolphus Busch donated money to the victims of the 1884 Ohio River Flood. In 1896, the company provided monetary and direct assistance after a tornado struck the south side of St. Louis. After a major earthquake devastated the city of San Francisco in 1906, the company donated $100,000 to quake victims.
Since the 1900s, Anheuser-Busch has supported relief organizations around the globe. In 1908, the company donated $25,000 to the National Red Cross Society for earthquake victims in the Italian cities of Reggio and Messina. Anheuser-Busch also provided tremendous support to Red Cross relief efforts during both World Wars. In 1919, during WWI, Anheuser-Busch was among the first St. Louis institutions to have 100 percent employee enrollment in the Red Cross. Over the years, the company has donated millions of dollars to this organization.
Aside from financial support, the company has contributed drinking water to disaster victims. In 1960, Anheuser-Busch distributed 6,000 quarts of drinking water to disaster centers throughout the Florida Keys to aid Hurricane Donna victims. Since 1988, the company has donated more than 59 million cans of drinking water to aid the victims of hurricanes and natural disasters.
The company also has contributed to a variety of educational institutions over the years. In 1911, Adolphus Busch provided an endowment of $250,000 to the Germanic Museum at Harvard University. The company also has pledged money to other educational institutions, such as Washington University and St. Louis University in St. Louis.
The company's support extends into the communities where its employees live and work. In the early 1910s, Adolphus Busch and the company's board of directors made annual contributions to noteworthy organizations like the St. Louis Society for the Relief and Prevention of Tuberculosis.
Anheuser-Busch also has been a long time supporter of groups that work for economic development, cultural heritage, and educational opportunities in ethnic communities. Such groups include the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Throughout its history, Anheuser-Busch has generously supported groups in need in the United States and around the world. Whether through financial aid, canned drinking water or endowments, Anheuser-Busch has always been prepared to help those in need.
}A History of Innovation
In the early 1870s, Adolphus Busch became the first American brewer to adopt the use of pasteurization, which allowed beer to be shipped over long distances without spoiling. By the early 1880s, Adolphus had pioneered the use of artificial refrigeration, refrigerated railcars and rail-side icehouses. The combination of these innovations allowed Anheuser-Busch to transport and market Budweiser as America's first national beer.
Pasteurization- Adolphus Busch responded quickly to advances in science and technology. Previously, beer had been highly susceptible to the influence of heat, light, storage conditions and spoilage. With the introduction of Pasteurization, heat could be used to destroy harmful micro-organisms, allowing beer to be maintained for longer periods without spoiling. Adolphus embraced this idea and became the first U.S. brewer to pasteurize beer in the 1870s. This new technology allowed beer to be shipped long distances without spoiling and made it practical to bottle beer.
Artificial Refrigeration- One of the greatest advances made during the latter half of the 19th century was the introduction of artificial refrigeration. Prior to its introduction, the majority of brewing at Anheuser-Busch was limited to the winter months. As heat affected brewing, summertime supplies had to be stored in cool underground places or in elaborate ice houses. In the early 1880s, Anheuser-Busch adopted artificial refrigeration systems, eliminating the brewery's dependence on natural ice, with its uncertainties in supply and price. Adolphus' decision to install an artificial refrigeration system involved a great amount of risk, but the machines proved to be simple, economic and reliable.
Refrigerated Railcars- Adolphus expanded the use of refrigerated railcars, which were first introduced at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. By 1877, Adolphus was using 40 cars built by the Tiffany Refrigerator Car Company of Chicago. In 1878, Adolphus and three other businessmen established the St. Louis Refrigerator Car Co., which later provided Anheuser-Busch with a fleet of 850 refrigerator cars to transport beer throughout the nation.
Rail-side Ice Houses- Ice was another variable that Adolphus had to manage in the shipment of his beer to distant markets. Ice melts, so in order to keep the refrigerated railcars cold, fresh supplies needed to be stored so that the cars could be repacked. To make sure the company had an ample supply of fresh ice, Anheuser-Busch built a series of ice houses and storage depots. When the railcars pulled in after traveling a distance, they could stop and reload with fresh ice.
Anheuser-Busch InBev grew from the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, dating back to 1366, the Anheuser & Co brewery, established in 1860 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA and AmBev, created in 1999 with the merger of the two biggest Brazilian brewers, Antarctica (founded in 1882) and Brahma (founded in 1888). In 1987 the two largest breweries in Belgium merged: Artois, located in Leuven, and Piedboeuf, located in Jupille, forming Interbrew. In 2004 Interbrew and AmBev merged, creating the world's largest brewer, InBev.
In 2006, InBev acquired the Fujian Sedrin brewery in China, making InBev the No. 3 brewer in China - the world's largest beer market. In 2007, Labatt acquired Lakeport in Canada, and InBev increased its shareholding in Quinsa, strengthening the company's foothold in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
On 18 November 2008, the combination of InBev and Anheuser-Busch closed, creating Anheuser-Busch InBev, the leading global brewer and one of the top five consumer products companies in the world. Under the terms of the merger agreement, all shares of Anheuser-Busch will be acquired for 70 USD per share in cash, for an aggregate of 52 billion USD.
After the merger in 1987, Interbrew acquired a number of local breweries in Belgium. By 1991, a second phase of targeted external growth began outside of Belgium's borders. The first transaction in this phase took place in Hungary, followed in 1995 by the acquisition of Labatt, in Canada, and then in 1999 by a joint venture with Sun in Russia.
In 2000, Interbrew acquired Bass and Whitbread in the U.K., and in 2001 the company established itself in Germany, with the acquisition of Diebels. This was followed by the acquisition of Beck's & Co., the Gilde Group and Spaten. Interbrew operated as a family-owned business until December 2000. At this point it organized an Initial Public Offering, becoming a publicly owned company trading on the Euronext stock exchange (Brussels, Belgium).
In 2002, Interbrew strengthened its position in China, by acquiring stakes in the K.K. Brewery and the Zhujiang Brewery.
AmBev is a Brazilian beverages company formed by a merger in 1999 between the Brahma and Antarctica breweries. It has a dominant position in South America and the Caribbean. The subsidiary is listed on BM&F Bovespa, the São Paulo stock exchange, and on the New York Stock Exchange.
Main article: Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch is the largest brewing company in the United States in volume with a 49.2% share of beer sales. It was the world's largest brewing company based on revenue, but third in brewing volume, before the proposed merger with InBev announced 13 July 2008. The division operates 12 breweries in the United States and 17 others overseas.
Anheuser-Busch's best known beers included brands such as Budweiser, the Busch (originally known as Busch Bavarian Beer) and Michelob families, and Natural Light and Ice. The company also produced a number of smaller-volume and specialty beers, nonalcoholic brews, malt liquors (King Cobra and the Hurricane family), and flavored malt beverages (e.g. the Bacardi Silver family and Tequiza).
Anheuser-Busch was also one of the largest theme park operators in the United States with ten parks throughout the United States. In October 2009, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced the sale of its Busch Entertainment theme park division to The Blackstone Group for $2.7 billion. The company had been investigating a sale of Busch Entertainment since the merger with Inbev.
Main article: InBev
InBev was the second largest brewery company in the world. While its core business is beer, the company also had a strong presence in the soft drink market in Latin America. It employed about 86,000 people and was headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, where Anheuser-Busch InBev will now be based.
Before the merger with AmBev, Interbrew was the third largest brewing company in the world by volume, Anheuser-Busch was the largest, followed by SABMiller in second place. Heineken International was in fourth place and AmBev was the world's fifth largest brewer.
InBev employed close to 89 000 people, running operations in over 30 countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. In 2007, InBev realized 14.4 billion euro of revenue.