A Fine Belgian Beer Called Budweiser
By Garance Franke-Ruta
What could be more American than a Bud Light? It's the beer of ball games, barbecues and, as of tonight, President Obama, who will raise a bottle (or a glass) with Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at a White House picnic table at 6 p.m. for a little American cultural reconciliation.
The only caveat: Sometime after Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in 2008, Budweiser ceased to be an American company, selling itself to InBev, a gigantic Flemish-Brazilian beer consortium based in Leuven, Belgium.
Today, even Wikipedia calls Bud "an American-style beer", instead of an American one. Gates, for his part, will enjoy a Jamaican Red Stripe beer -- a brand now owned by London-based international liquor holding company Diageo -- and Crowley will have a Blue Moon -- a Belgian-style hefeweizen beer owned by MillerCoors, the Chicago-based joint venture that's a prime Anheuser-Busch competitor in the U.S. and Canada.
The takehome? In today's international economy, American-style and other beers are as much an amalgam of influences as the nation itself. Stands to reason: after all, that iconic "American-style" Bud was named after the town of Budweis, Bohemia, and brewed in mimicry of that German style.
Posted at 12:53 PM ET on Jul 30, 2009
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