Now we jump to America circa 1874-1875, when German immigrant Adolphus Busch, co-founder of what would become the famous Anheuser-Busch, began development of a rice-based beer with brewmaster Irwin Sproule for the St Louis-based importer Carl Conrad. Conrad contracted the two to make the pale beer with specific instructions on mimicking the style brewed in Budweis in order to stick out in an American market that was filled with pilsners. The resulting beer was slightly lighter in shade and Champagne-like in carbonation. Conrad began advertising it as the Original Budweiser, which was the first use of the name in the American market and one he promptly trademarked. Six years later, Conrad would go bankrupt and Anheuser-Busch would purchase the trademark rights. It then went on, as we know, to be one of the most successful beer brands in American history.
And all of that came together to form a massive amount of confusion when it came to international exporting. In Europe, Budweiser had been known for over 600 years as beer from Budweis, which was made by two breweries from the region. However, in North America, Budweiser was the American-born king of beers, specifically made by Anheuser-Busch. All parties had legitimate claims over the name and all three agreed they would maintain the name in their respective markets. Budweiser Bier Bürgerbräu would be B.B. Burgerbräu in America, and Budweiser Budvar would be Budvar or Czechvar. In Europe, the American Budweiser would be simply labelled as Bud.
But the story doesn’t end there. Since 1907 the dispute is still ongoing, made even more complicated by Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Budweiser Bier Bürgerbräu in 2014, which brought forth a lot of usage disputes throughout Europe.
So next time you order a Budweiser, be sure to specify which one you want!