August A. Busch, Jr., was born on March 28, 1899 in St. Louis, Missouri. He is best known as brewing magnet of the world’s largest brewing company Anheuser Busch.
August’s grandfather Adolphus Busch travelled to America from Germany in 1857 and began working with his father in law Eberhard Anheuser at his brewery, E. Anhauser & Co. In 1873 Busch became a full partner with his father in law and the company was renamed to Anhauser – Busch Brewing Association. By 1900 Anheuser-Busch was the world’s largest brewery.
August, Gus or Gussie to most people, was destined to enter the family business. He became the general superintendent of brewing operations by the age of 25 and took over as head of the brewery division when his father died in 1934. He became president after his older brother died in 1946, but by that time he had already proven himself as a mighty force.
One of August’s greatest marketing promotions was in 1933. August sent a regal team of Clydesdale horses marching down Pennsylvania Avenue on route to President Roosevelt at the White House. They were delivering Budweiser Beer to President Roosevelt to celebrate the repeal of prohibition. Since then, the Clydesdale horses have been famously united with the Anheuser Busch Brand.
In 1953, August convinced the Board of Directors to purchase the St. Louis Cardinals for $7.8 million. The move prevented the team from moving to another city and relieved many fans. He became a familiar sight at the Cardinal games, and entered the stadium behind a team of the company’s famous Clydesdale horses waving a red cowboy hat.
His commitment to mass advertising and promotional gimmicks helped the business soar. His family business became an industry giant during his tenure. Sales of beer went from 3 million to 37 million during the 29 years while he was the active head of the company.
While only 5’10” tall and 165 pounds, he had a loud voice an even bigger personality. His voice was compared to a hoarse lion, and he lived as big as his roar.
August owned on a 281 acre estate called Grant’s Farm. He lived in a 34 room French Renaissance chateau, and his property housed a cabin built by President Ulysses S. Grant. There was also a well stocked zoo on the property. August would hand train his own chimpanzees and elephants himself before donating them to the St. Louis Zoo.
Yes, August knew how to live big!