King of Beers Has To Contend With Former King, Among Other Challenges

The Wall Street Journal airs some laundry in their front page piece on the Busch clan of St. Louis. Ostensibly, the article is about Belgian giant InBev’s possible bid for Anheuser, but it delves deep into family history and the tensions therein.

An offer by InBev would put the 43-year-old August A. Busch IV in a tough spot. If Anheuser is sold to InBev, he could be remembered as the member of the founding Busch family who let the St. Louis icon slip into foreign hands. The Busch family controls less than 4% of the stock, so even if a majority opposed the deal, it can’t block it.
But the talk of a takeover carries even-more personal considerations for Mr. Busch: his tenuous relationship with his 70-year-old father, August A. Busch III, now an Anheuser director.
The younger Mr. Busch says he wants to show his father what he can do to revive the struggling brewer. August Busch IV said he’s still seeking his father’s admiration. “His love and respect will be when I’m ultimately successful,” he says.
Born into the family dynasty in 1964, Mr. Busch is the fifth member of his family to run Anheuser. Despite his lineage, August A. Busch IV faced a somewhat rocky path to the helm of the King of Beers.
His parents divorced when he was 5 years old and he lived with his mother. He still saw his father often, but mostly at the brewery.
“I never, ever had a father-son relationship,” the younger August Busch says. It’s “purely business.”

There’s more, but I’ll leave it at that.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.