Extended Audio Sample

Download Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and Americas Kings of Beer Audiobook, by William Knoedelseder Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (368 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Knoedelseder Narrator: Peter Berkrot Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2012 ISBN: 9780062259714
Regular Price: $24.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $17.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

The engrossing, often scandalous saga of one of the wealthiest, longest-lasting, and most colorful family dynasties in the history of American commerce—a cautionary tale about prosperity, profligacy, hubris, and the blessings and dark consequences of success.

From countless bar signs, stadium scoreboards, magazine ads, TV commercials, and roadside billboards, the name Budweiser has been burned into the American consciousness as the "King of Beers." Over a span of more than a century, the company behind it, Anheuser-Busch, has attained legendary status. A jewel of the American Industrial Revolution, in the hands of its founders—the sometimes reckless and always boisterous Busch family of St. Louis, Missouri—it grew into one of the most fearsome marketing machines in modern times. In Bitter Brew, critically acclaimed journalist Knoedelseder paints a fascinating portrait of immense wealth and power accompanied by a barrelful of scandal, heartbreak, tragedy, and untimely death.

This engrossing, vivid narrative captures the Busch saga through five generations. At the same time, it weaves a broader story of American progress and decline over the past 150 years. It's a cautionary tale of prosperity, hubris, and loss.

Download and start listening now!

BK_HARP_003165

Quotes & Awards

  • “Who knew beer, baseball, and batty billionaires could make for such a tantalizing literary brew? Veteran investigative reporter Bill Knoedelseder pours readers a full pint of intrigue, insight, and intelligent writing, a rich tale more satisfying than a Budweiser and more exciting than a bottom-of-the-ninth grand slam.”

    David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “As the Busch family goes, so goes America. Bill Knoedelseder has taken their multigenerational saga and boiled it down into a heartfelt, hilarious ode to beer, baseball, and business.”

    Michael London, Academy Award–nominated producer of Sideways

  • Bitter Brew deftly chronicles the contentious succession of kings in a uniquely American dynasty. You’ll never crack open a six again without thinking of this book.”

    John Sayles, director of Eight Men Out and author of A Moment in the Sun

  • “A great American story told as well as it could be told. I’ll never drink a Bud the same way again.”

    Larry Leamer, bestselling author of the Kennedy family trilogy, The Kennedy WomenThe Kennedy Men, and Sons of Camelot

  • “[A] thoroughly researched and thoughtfully written book.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An engrossing behind-the-scenes look at one of America’s most successful and familiar brands.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, November 2012

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellenglo | 2/20/2014

    " a little repetitive at times but overall an interesting, comprehensive look at the busch family "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise Kruse | 2/14/2014

    " Lost a star for typos. The most offensive - "Gravis" Road in south St. Louis? Really? As if a four-second Google search would have killed your editors. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie Allen | 2/7/2014

    " Really liked this book. Fast pace and held my interest. I,am from Missouri and the history of St. Louis and the Busch empire was fascinating to me. There's humor to boot with this one and I was not disappointed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sonja | 2/3/2014

    " Interesting local history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric Magruder | 1/21/2014

    " Didn't think I'd enjoy a book about the Busch family as much as I did. Found a new respect for the early years of the company before A-B changed it's focus from beer to marketing diet beer. Adolphus, August A., Gussie, and to a lesser extent August III seem alright in my book. But IV, wow. He was/is a train wreck. Kinda interested in Billy Busch's new craft brand, Kraftig, now because of this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Geders | 1/13/2014

    " Quick, interesting read, especially if you are from St. Louis . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Violet | 12/15/2013

    " I don't drink beer, nor did I have any interest in the Busch family before reading this. I was surprised to find that it was a good read both for the dysfunction of the family members and the insight into the running of a multi billion dollar company (from start to finish). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick | 11/6/2013

    " This was a really good history of the beer making giant. It also is a cautionary tale of what money, lots of it, and power can do to bring down a mega-empire that was once a real American-made company. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judd | 10/2/2013

    " Blazed through this on audible.com app. Great book for the on-foot commute. Same old saga ... Camelot rotted out to the core ... But a well told saga, just the same. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brie Gordon | 7/2/2013

    " The writing made me wonder "Umm, really?" on several occasions. I stuck with it because of the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Graham | 6/3/2013

    " This detailed, journalistic retelling of the Busch family's rise and fall as kings of the world's leading beer company is a must read for St. Louisans, Anheuser-Busch and Fleishman-Hillard employees, and beer drinkers everywhere. It's hard to put down knowing it all happened. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin Burchell | 5/22/2013

    " Interesting to hear the story of the beer company I loved to hate. Great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam | 5/18/2013

    " salaciously enjoyable "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 5/10/2013

    " It was okay....interesting....glad I read it....would recommend it....wouldn't re-read....was awesome airplane reading "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greynomad | 4/10/2013

    " a well written book and it again proves that money and power can cover up a multiple of sins. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean Macmillan | 3/28/2013

    " A page turner about the Busch family. Rise to fall...great stuff. A page turner that comes to life via Bill Knoedelseder. You can't help but parallel the story of Budweiser with the story of American businesses. They both seem to rise and fall at the same time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 3/5/2013

    " Just a quick scan mostly for references to Fleishman-Hillard, the PR firm where I worked for 18 years. This book is like tabloid TV -- perhaps accurate but certainly journalism, not business bio. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peterbiro | 2/15/2013

    " A little too breathless about how fantastic the wealth of the Busch family is and not deep enough about what made them successful in the early days. But at least that made me root against them so that when August IV destroyed everything, I had a smile on my face. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 2/4/2013

    " Loved it! Very readable history of the "Kings of Beer," full of gossipy tidbits and enough facts to keep this beer geek happy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karl | 1/24/2013

    " This is a fantastic book. Anyone with an inteest in Missouri/Beer/Corporate history should read this. WOW. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie | 12/4/2012

    " Fascinating and sad. Another example of money not being able to buy/bring happiness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lee Schnitzer | 11/26/2012

    " Great read. Well written and very informative. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

William Knoedelseder spent twelve years as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where his groundbreaking coverage of the recording industry for the newspaper’s financial section resulted in the critically acclaimed book Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia. Knoedelseder has also been a television executive, creating, managing, and producing news programs for Knight Ridder, Fox, and the USA Network. At USA, he was vice president of news. His book I’m Dying up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy’s Golden Era has been optioned for film by actor Jim Carrey. He lives in Woodland Hills, California.

About the Narrator

Peter Berkrot is an audiobook narrator and stage, screen, and television actor and acting coach. A forty-year veteran of stage and screen, he was the director of narration for the Emmy-nominated The Truth about Cancer. He has voiced over three hundred audiobook titles, winning numerous Earphones Awards, a 2012 Audie Award nomination, and a 2016 Audie Award. He has appeared in Showtime’s Brotherhood and Loosies and played Angie D’Annunzio in Caddyshack.