Back in 1991 when this book was published, I’m sure it caused quite a bit of controversy and dropped more than a few bombshells on the family behind Budweiser.
But time has blunted that controversy a bit. That’s not a fault of the book; rather it’s proof of how good it is. See, I’ve read a number of histories of beer that were published some time after this, and they all make quite a few references to this book.
So even before I started reading this I already knew much of the beans it would have to spill – that they nicked the name Budweiser from a European beer and falsely tried to claim it as their own, that the various heads of the company were right bastards who figured their every whim should be pandered to, that the Busch family relationships gave new meaning to the word dysfunctional.
None of this was surprising because I’d heard it all before. Which is a good sign really; if so many other books reference Under The Influence, then it really must be the go-to source for the story of Anheuser-Busch. And it is. While you may have heard some of the stories before, there is still more than enough weirdness going on in the Busch family tree to make this still very much worth reading.
For those with a Kindle, there’s an updated edition that includes the company’s takeover as well as a range of extra pieces of scuttlebutt. Whichever way you go – second-hand hard copy or ebook – there’s still plenty here to justify reading this book.
Categories: Book review