Budweiser Brewery Experience | Sharon Henry
The Budweiser tour St Louis has me so excited I can’t get Gretchen Wilson’s One Budwiser out of my head. Budweiser beer is an American legend up there with Elvis, the beer tour includes the Budweiser Clydesdales stables so it’s exciting stuff, plus we’re getting free Anheuser Busch beer!
The Budweiser brewery experience is free, its a great Budweiser advertising strategy. The Anheuser Busch brewery tour operates every day, to all ages, those 21+ qualify for free beer, otherwise soft drinks are available. Darrin, ever the sceptic, says “nothing’s for free there’s always a catch.”
Anheuser Busch Tour St Louis
Anheuser-Busch St Louis MO produces Boddingtons, Becks beer, Stella Artois, Bud Light, Michelob, Busch Light and Rolling Rock together with a long list of other beer brands. It’s fair to say they have quite a stake in the beer industry.
It’s the weekend and this Budweiser tour St Louis is 90 strong, including lots of families with young children. Our guides are Emily and Connor who run through the brewery’s Budweiser history, then usher us out to the famous Budweiser horses paddock.
The Beer Facts
Budweiser alcohol content is 5% and Bud Light beer is 4.2%.
The number of calories in beer: 145 calories in every 12-ounce bottle of Budweiser beer. Each bottle contains 10.5 grams of carbohydrates, no fat and 1.4 grams of proteins. A 330ml Budweiser can has 132 calories.
Anheuser Busch Clydesdales – Meeting The Stars
The Budweiser Clydesdale commercials stars go about their business as we visit their immaculately kept paddock. The horses perform in parades and festivals across the country and only a select few join the hitch (group) that gets to pull a Budweiser wagon. The elite must have a dark coat, mane and tail, white stocking feet, be 6ft tall and weigh around 2,000lbs. AB owns 170 Budweiser horses and have three travelling hitches, each consisting of 8 horses.
A Lifetime’s Beer Supply On The Budweiser Factory Tour
Next, we all squeeze into the beer brewing area, the Beech Wood Aging Cellar that holds massive tanks of beer. The room temperature is a brisk 10C. The smell of yeast is ripe. Each tank holds the equivalent of 200,000 six-packs. Emily jokes, “To conquer one of these tanks in your lifetime you’ll need to drink one beer every hour of the day, so a 24-pack a day…for 137 years!” Imagine the beer belly.
Inside each tank is a foot of beech wood chips. The chips allow the yeast to stay in constant contact with the beer during the fermentation process that naturally carbonates the beer.
Budweiser Ingredients Includes Rice
Emily tells us this is an expensive process but Anheuser Busch believes, “the result in quality is unmatched.”
Next comes the part we’ve all been waiting for; beer tasting. For once it’s great to be over 21! We’re handed a wooden token each to redeem at the bar later. On entering the Brew House we’re offered generous free beer samples of Budweiser and Bud Light at the door. I choose the Budweiser. Everyone crowds in, sipping their samples slowly, possibly conscious of appearing greedy.
Secret Beer Brewing Recipe Held At St Louis
Connor then runs through the seven-step process of what makes the beer we’re drinking so special. The Budweiser ingredients are wheat, yeast, water, hops and rice. The latter is what sets Budweiser beer apart from other beer brands. Using rice actually goes against German beer making regulations. Anheuser Busch includes rice to get a crisp, fresh taste.
Did you know hops are flowers? I didn’t. They grow on vines, some grow over a foot at night. Hops add spice to beer. Anheuser Busch are the only brewery that grow their own hops vines.
Yeast makes up 60% of the beer’s flavour and ‘fun’ fact; the same yeast strain that Busch picked out back in 1876 is still used today. It is kept under lock and key on the St Louis facility. Only five people have access to it. Once a week it is harvested and shipped out to the other 11 breweries across the country in armoured trucks and cars.
Mashing For A Natural Light Beer
We are then whisked up in elevators inside the factory to the Mashing Section. The temperature is noticeably warmer. It looks elaborate with the pipes, cylinders and ornate iron railings.
Mashing is the process of cooking the grain with warm water turning the starch into sugar. This is the step where you get the difference between Budweiser and Bud Light. The longer it’s kept in the mashing tanks the more starch gets burnt off resulting in a lighter bodied beer.
We then come to the end of our tour. I’m disappointed we didn’t see any bottling, labelling or packaging but guess that’s available as the paid option of the tour.
Free Beer On The Budweiser Tour St Louis
But wait…we now get to go to the bar for our FREE 12oz draught beer. There are about 12 brands and types of beer on tap to choose from. I dilly-dally between the lime and the apple flavours, and opt for the Honeycrisp Apple Wheat. It’s sweet, tastes like cider but stronger and not as gassy. Darrin’s driving so has to settle for a soft drink. It’s just after noon and I feel slightly guilty drinking so early. But hey – it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!
Excellent Budweiser Advertising Campaign
These kinds of perks are not just for the public, employees 6 months+ on the payroll get a case of beer twice a month. How cool is that? That’s quite unique, where employers encourage workers to drink – in their own time of course.
This Budweiser company has stood the test of time (over 150 years), Anheuser-Busch are obviously astute marketing strategists. They’ve been offering free tours since 1904. This is where Darrin’s “nothing is free” philosophy comes in.
Is This A Very Clever Marketing Idea?
The ‘free’ tours and Budweiser beer samples helps win fans, promotes brand awareness and achieves that priceless ‘word of mouth’ advertising. Our 90 strong group included potential future beer drinkers being exposed at a young age to the brand.
Wait a minute, could it be that nothing’s for free? Have I just been wooed by clever marketing? Oh well, I don’t mind, this really was fun.
Well done Anheuser Busch, this Bud’s for you! The Budweiser tour is a winner.
Anheuser And Busch Making Budweiser History
For those who are interested, here’s the story about Eberhard Anheuser and Aldophus Busch. Anheuser left Germany in 1843 and settled in St Louis. Being the entrepreneurial type he bought into the brewing business in 1852 despite lacking experience. Busch, another German immigrant, had a partnership in a brewery supply company, he later married Anheuser’s daughter and started working for his father in law.
In 1876 Busch with his friend Carl Conrad created Budweiser, an ‘American-style’ lager beer that appealed to palates across the country. It became the company’s flagship brand.
The company was a family run business for nearly 150 years before being taken over by InBev in 2008.
Other Interesting Budweiser Facts
The St. Louis branch is the largest and oldest Anheuser-Busch brewery site was chosen because of its access to the Mississippi River and the large number of German immigrants in the 1800’s. St Louis, Missouri remains the home of Anheuser Busch headquarters.
The Budweiser Clydesdale horses are a breed of draught horses originating from the farms of Clydesdale in Scotland and named after that region. Each Budweiser horse gets a custom-made collar. You can learn more about the famous Clydesdales here.
Where Is Budweiser Brewed?
There are 12 Anheuser Busch Brewery locations in the US; Baldwinsville NY, Cartersville GA, Columbus OH, Los Angeles CA, Newark NJ, Williamsburg VA, Fairfield CA, Fort Collins CO, Houston TX, Jacksonville FL, Merrimack NH and St Louis MO.
You can get the Budweiser Brewery Experience tours at three locations, St Louis of course, Fort Collins in Colorado and Merrimack in New Hampshire.
There is an extensive list of Anheuser Busch beers on the market and the company has now moved into the craft beer market.