Budweiser has renamed itself “America,” effective until the November presidential election.
I have two incredible problems with this:
1. You have to have REALLY BIG HOPS to rename your product after an entire nation.
2. Budweiser is owned by, uh, a Belgian company. At the moment, Budweiser’s about as American as, well, Belgian waffles.
Sure, Budweiser is still brewed in St. Louis, but parent company Anheuser-Busch was sold in 2008 to Belgian-based InBev.
That’s Belgian, as in Belgium.
(Trust me, nobody at InBev ever says, “This Bud’s for you.” They say, “Wie boter op zijn hoofd heeft, moet uit de zon blijven,” which is Dutch for, “He who has butter on his head should stay out of the sun.”)
If you look at a map of America — and I realize geography is not a strong suit anymore for American students or student-athletes — you might notice that Belgium is about 3,300 miles east of, say, Maine. You might also notice a really large body of water — the Atlantic Ocean — dividing North America from Europe, the continent in which Belgium has resided since at least 1830.
“America” showed up on store shelves May 23 and will remain until mid-November. On cans and bottles, the phrase “King of Beers” has been replaced by “E Pluribus Unum.”
(I would have replaced “King of Beers” with “Prince of Swill.” And who among Budweiser patrons knows what “E Pluribus Unum” means? I would imagine few.)
The “America” rebranding is in the spirit of what Budweiser vice president Ricardo Marques referred to as “probably the most American summer of our generation.”
I’m not quite sure why this is the most American summer of our generation.
Budweiser points out that this summer is bringing us Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, plus the Olympics, the Copa America Centenario soccer fest and the presidential election.
Now, not to nitpick here, but those three holidays occur every year, plus the Summer Games and the presidential election occur every four years. Americans are participating in the Olympics, but they are being held in Rio de Janeiro, which is somewhat south of America as we know it.
And, yes, this soccer competition is being hosted throughout the United States this month, but — and I don’t want to be too unpatriotic or too 19th century here — if the Copa America were held in my back yard, I would close the Venetian blinds, pop open a Yuengling and watch a “Duck Dynasty” marathon on Hulu.
Speaking of which, my beer of choice once was Rolling Rock, but I left Rolling Rock when it was bought by Anheuser-Busch.
I switched to Pabst Blue Ribbon but left PBR when it was bought by the Russians.
So I now proudly stand with Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery, which, of course, makes it somewhat more American than Budweiser, er, “America.”
Budweiser is synonymous with American sports. But remember that great ad jingle, “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet, they go together in the good ole USA?” Notice they don’t mention Budweiser? Heck, they didn’t even mention Bud before it skedaddled to Brussels.
(Actually, I like drinking Bud while watching backgammon on TV; alas, there is usually no backgammon on TV. I also have been slowly transitioning to esports, but esports really go best with Yoo-hoo.)
You do have to be impressed in regard to Budweiser’s hold on the American beer-drinking public, in light of all the terrific imports and craft brews now on the market.
When I walk into a bar on an NFL Sunday, Budweiser banners adorn the walls, there are specials on “a bucket of Bud” and every other table has a Bud Light or Budweiser. Despite declining sales, Bud Light and Budweiser are still two of the three top-selling beers in America.
The brand is so successful, maybe America should consider renaming itself Budweiser — the United States of Budweiser.
Here’s to you, America — real men of genius drinking bad beer.
Q. With an AOL account, do you also still get up to change TV channels, visit Blockbuster and wind your watch? (Tom Connelly; Arlington Heights, Ill.)
A. I have a “timepiece,” sir, not a watch. And I only use it when I can’t see the sundial.
Q. In a Nick Saban-Jim Harbaugh verbal smackdown, whom does The Slouch root for? (Eric Fletcher; Fort Worth)
A. Les Miles.
Q. If they’re going to allow MLB pitchers to just tell the umpire they want to intentionally walk the batter (to save time by not having to pitch to that batter), wouldn’t it also speed up the game if Clayton Kershaw just told the ump he wanted to strike out the batter? (Dale Billman; Indianapolis)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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