If you’ve never heard of Adolphus Busch, you’ve probably drank his legacy. But likely, Busch is well known to most of us. Yet there’s a bit we don’t know about him. Like the fact that he saved the Anheuser brewery, and he didn’t even like beer.
Adolphus came to the U.S. from Germany at just 18 to work with his brothers. Before long, he met a dude named Eberhard Anheuser and—you guessed it—a historic partnership was born. (Well, Busch actually had to marry into the family, wedding Lilly Anheuser in 1861.)
At the time, beer in America was a lot different than what Anheuser-Busch would go on to create—think darker, heavier beers, more akin to the English style ales than German lagers. Beer was more substantial back then, and for pretty good reason: for a lot of immigrants to the States, richer beer had served as a kind of meal substitute. But with the influx of German immigrants, and the decreased need for “liquid lunch” in America, the lager style was set to take off—and Busch saw the opportunity.
At the time that he joined the Anheuser family brewery, it was actually struggling. But Busch introduced pasteurization and refrigeration into the brewery program, meaning beer could last longer and travel farther. This paved the way for Anheuser-Busch to dominate the U.S. beer market and for light macro lager to become the beverage of choice for everyone from old school industrialists to beer pong champions.
Maybe the most surprising fact, though—and maybe no surprise, depending on your opinion of the beer—Busch actually preferred wine.