Sunday, June 8, 2008

Beer and the Cities. Cindy, McCain, Anheuser, Busch, Budweiser v. Budejovicky Budvar. Ceske Budojovice, War of the Buds. The Reinheitsgebot Wars.

For the sequel to this post, see Joy of Equivocating, American Offshoot Budweiser, Not American Original. We decline to publish, as requested by MSNBC, a link to their pending special on TV about Budweiser. Further update: Budejovicky Budvar has won - despite Anheuser Busch having been bought by European InBev, the Budweiser name can only be used  by Budvar, the "Budweis" beer. See Czech news at ://aktualne.centrum.cz/czechnews/clanek.phtml?id=625114

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Beer Naming - Origins Matter


1. Budvar. Budweiser. This little beer went to market. In 1265.

Meet Budweiser Budvar. Here is its town: Budojovicky Budvar, formerly known as Budweis, and now also known as Cesky Budojovic or Ceske Budejovice. The true "Budweiser" because its beer, Budweis, is made there.

Here, in the Czech Republic, people have brewed "pure" beer, by the "Budvar," process since 1265 AD. See Czech Republic Road Ways, Hluboka Nad Vltavou, Ceske Budejovic.




Castle, Ceske Budojovic, the Czech Republic

But Budweiser Budvar, despite its excellence and Reinheitsgebot, see below, can't market itself in the US. It reached an agreement re selling itself under a different name in 2007, but that is not the same as keeping its Budweiser - see ://www.radio.cz/en/article/87057

2. This Little Beer Took the Name. Meet Anheuser Busch "Budweiser." Not made in Budweis, not made the same, time-honored pure way. But it got a trademark here, yes, indeedy. And it added those marketable Clydesdales, made the foam last a week, put a tadpole in a mug of it (no - don't - this part is s Fake News) and it leaps out as a roasted turkey in 8.5 seconds. It found its way to the stock market - BUD.

And it can't market itself in most of Europe - see below.

3. This little beer-buyer from Belgium wants to own it. Now, enter Belgium's InBev (INB.BT) at ://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200806201936DOWJONESDJONLINE000770_FORTUNE5.htm,

It wants our little Budweiser US, to find a way to market it both here and over there, and has great marketing opportunities open to it that Anheuser Busch does not - especially if it also owns Budweiser Budveis, right?

So the Belgians want to buy Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch. See "This Bud May Be For the Belgians, " at ://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jun2008/db20080611_460340.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_top+story

But we learn little else. Is there more here than suds? We found more abroad, in the foreign press, See FpdderSight: Benefits of Foreign Bellwether; and a few sites here.

4. These little beers have issues.

There is a complex trademark and litigation background, issues still unresolved, and of interest not only for the suds.

a) Rights. Budweiser Budvar says Budweiser US has no right to use that Budweiser name in Europe. Budweiser US is not made in Budvar, so it cannot be "Budweiser" beer. And that indeed was part of an agreement between Budweiser here and Budweiser Budvar there, to resolve who could use the name where. Now Budweiser Budvar is doing so well (it has modernized its marketing and also its use of the name Budweiser, as showing their beer is indeed made in Budvar), that it is looking for ways to expand - and here in the US as well as in Europe.

This is a sensitive issue. Germany, says this site, hates Budweiser US, see ://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/27/world/main1754277.shtml, article about brew conflicts at world's cup soccer. Many revere the tradition and now legality over there, that only the purveyor in that place is entitled to use the name of a place in its name.

So the name "Budweiser" cannot be trademarked by anyone not doing the manufacturing in Budweis. See http://www.didyouknow.cd/anheuser.htm. Budweiser US cannot "trademark" that name in Europe. Similar rules for "Champagne" and other products that may now be made by others elsewhere, but they can't use the place name.

b) Wrong Recipe. Budweiser Budvar says Budweiser US is not even "beer" in much of Europe, because its ingredients include rice, and other mystery, undisclosed items (not required to disclose here. Why?) not within the traditional European Reinheitsgebot (see below) purity standard that allows only hops, yeast, barley malt and water.

What is in Budweiser. Why should beer and other alcoholic beverage purveyors not have to disclose their ingredients? So far, a free ride at consumer expense? See ://www.cspinet.org/new/200801221.html.

See ://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_356b.html. This site says that Budweiser uses rice and barley malt (not wheat, so the gluten allergic are safe). But the addition of rice takes it out of the Reinheitsgebot standard. Budweiser is not "pure" by that European standard. It also uses any old hops, see ://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/missouri/budweiser-process.php.

So, back to the Trademark disputes. Was the original "Budweiser" trademark authorized, and eve if so, is the trademark valid in Europe.

4. This little heiress gets plenty, either way. If it sells, if it does not sell. This is Cindy McCain's golden goose, maybe getting goldener at our gustatory expense?

Recall: We have our Budweiser here, and Europe has Budweiser-Budvar there, and they are different beers, different companies. See http://www.budvar.cz/en/web2/Tiskove-centrum/Tiskovky/en/2005-11-06-Sale-of-Budweiser-Budvar-beer-in-new-bottles-has-substantially-increased.html.

5. A Candidate Trembles. Recusal In The Wind.

Should Candidate McCain Recuse Himself In Advance from Any Involvement, Any Making Comments, About Any Issue Affecting the War of the Buds.

Foreign relations. If Germany hates American "Budweiser," as that site says, what does that mean for a particular heiress' spouse's candidacy, Citizen McCain, and his chances as an international negotiator? Austria is already on record as anti-US Budweiser. See ://www.arellanes.com/wordpress/?p=1373. Prague debates. See //prague.tv/city-beat/?p=255

Are we to vote for a diplomatic non-starter, disqualified by marriage, from any credibility in Germany and elsewhere where Reinheitsgebot counts? What potential new administration best meets the requirements of political Reinheitsgebot? Unless it all gets resolved first, see ://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jun2008/db20080612_574492.htm?campaign_id=rss_daily

Prepare to disclose, Mr. McCain, before the talking heads get hold of this hopping, brewing issue. See PoseJuxta, Planks for People, Pre-emptive Laundry Disclosure Week. Raise the issue yourself, before the issue becomes burpal pundit fodder. And recuse.

6. These little beers should be in the news more.

Significance beyond mere suds.
This is fun because it pits capitalism and its grabbiness and opportunism, against equity and fairness and legal standards of other countries, and because Budweiser's Anheuser-Busch keeps our home-grown and deserving heiress, Cindy McCain, in nice clothes that show well on TV.

It also is not fun because it raises the issue of whether any free trade agreements the US enters into, involves a conflict of interest with Candidate McCain, because the agreement so directly benefits his wife's fortune for the better (Budweiser US, see below, stands to make fortunes again if it can convince Europe to accept it as "Budweiser."

7. History is Excitement. The Chronology of the Beers and the Cities.

We used these sites in particular: "A Czech Cousin Haunts Budweiser," NYT June 8, 2008, at ://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CEED9153BF936A35757C0A966958260&n=Top%2FReference%2FTimes%20Topics%2FSubjects%2FA%2FAlcoholic%20Beverages
See also ://mpelembe.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/6/8/2015984.html
  • 1265 - Beer by the Budweis method first brewed upon authorization of King Premysl Otokar II, father of Wenceslas II. See ://artyzm.com/matejko/poczet/e_waclaw.htm.
  • 1516 - Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria imposes the Purity Standard, known as the German Reinheitsgebot (purity means the brewer can use only malt, hops, yeast water)
  • 1531 - Budweis town provides its beer (Budweiser, from Budweis) to Ferdinand I, King of Bohemia. The beer is known as "The Beer of Kings." See ://www.didyouknow.cd/anheuser.htm
Men In Feathers













  • 1795 - Ethnic Germans at Budweis set up a company using the name root "Budweiser" formally, as Budojovicky Budvar. Budojovicky Budvar is still at that time subject to the German Reinheitsgebot. Reinheitsegebot is a purity standard. Use only malt, hops, yeast, water.
REINHEITSGEBOT! PURITY!

That "purity," that Reinheitsgebot, no interloping ingredients for the sake of commerce and fakery, is important to Europeans. Apparently we in the US will drink any old thing, rice and chemicals or not. And the malt over there has to be barley malt; Bud US uses rice. And under the purity regulation, NO RICE. See ://www.didyouknow.cd/anheuser.htm.

The War of the Buds shows us that US Market Priorities (all business, no consumer) are like Julia Child selling us Europe-banned hydrochloromine to bleach out the burn spots on our chicken before serving.

So, drinks made with rice, or with other malts, are non-beer. Not beer at all.

This is also true of beers made with wheat, for example. They are known by a different name in Germany, as "weizens," to distinguish them from "beer".
  • 1802 - documents show use of "Budweiser" name on beer. Read the ins and outs of town names, adjoining Vltava, and use of the beer name at the mpelembe site.
  • 1878 - American Busch family obtains trademark for "Budweiser" in the United States, through the efforts of Augustus Busch, born in Mainz, Germany. But by what right does he use the Budweiser name, that already means "from Budweis?" Lawyers are arguing. The American version calls itself, cutely, "The King of Beers," a theft of identity from the Beer of Kings, above.
  • 1913 - Adolphus Busch, one of the founders, died where he lived, back in Germany. Son August took over. Died in 1934. In the family ever since. No connection to other Bushes. Note that his family and company ties do not include having to adhere to the Reinheitsgebot. Budweiser US - what do you use? American beers can include, though not all do, the additional ingredients of rice, artificial coloring, preservatives. Ugh. Do your labels reveal the ingredients? Have to go look at the local purveyory.
  • 1939 - Anheuser-Busch and Budojovicky Budvar agree that Budweiser (US) shall not market in most of continental Europe (exact places not shown). This means Budweiser has to stand by while 360,000,000 quaffers quaff other people's beer. By the same agreement, Budojovicky Budvar is not to market in the US
  • 1948 - Brewery was nationalized under the communists - 50% of exports of Budojovicky Budvar beer go to Western Europe, and of that 25% to Germany (0r is that an additional 25%?)
  • 1987 - European Court of Justice struck down the Reinheitsgebot purity standard as a restraint of trade
  • 1987 - Nonetheless: West German brewers and many surrounding countries still follow voluntarily the Reinheitsgebot. Note that Budweiser US does not have to, and does not follow the Reinheitsgebot.
  • 1991 - European Union has plans afoot for borderless markets, now including Eastern and Western Europe, and US Budweiser wants in, despite its 1939 agreement to stay out. The earlier agreement is not convenient any more, thank you.
Plzen Urquell

And Budejovic looks on thirstily to our direction, because another Czech beer product, Urquell Pilsner from Plzen, that has no such restriction on marketing here, and sells well in the US. See Plzen at Czech Republic Road Ways, Plzen.

9. Projections. Also, Budweiser US in a slump overseas even where it can market. Like checkmate. Anheuser Busch has a big output. but no place to go. Still, with propaganda and marketing, it surely could improve its sales (if Europeans can be persuaded to swallow ersatz - rice, and non-pedigreed hops. Lots of room to expand and rhapsodize about the benefits of artificial carbonation (burp) and the perpetual head three days later, if they can just get foot on bar-rail.

10. Shall We Go Beyond Propaganda For Once - Voters, Look At The Merits of the Competition:

Budweiser US loses on taste tests. Preservatives, extra gases, artificial flavors, right? Keep rice in California rolls. See ://japanesefood.about.com/od/sushiroll/r/californiaroll.htm. For beer, vacation in Budojovicky and enjoy Budvar.

Budojovic Budvar - now Budweiser Budvar - wins on taste, say some connoisseurs, and We the Sheeple. This is an excellent product, arguably superior even in the press. The NYT site says it is fuller-bodied, less carbonated than American "Bud," more of the (more flavorful?) bitter hops but a touch of the sweet. They say.

Is this sale a way to enable one company (not our beloved Anheuser Busch and its photogenic heiress) to reap all the hops on both sides of the pond. Looks so. But which beer will be sold over there - not our Budweiser with its tainted recipe and purloined name? We want news.

11. Doggerel of the Day: Ode To Reinheitsgebot

Budweiser Budvar hits the spot.
Pure, plus history, that's a lot.
Pour Budweiser US down the sink.
Rice and preservatives. A stinky drink.

Exeunt.


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If the sale to the Belgians does not go through, and Budweiser seeks to market in Europe, how about some equitable remedies to sweeten the deal for Budojovic.

See equity at ://www.west.net/~smith/equity.htm and at Joy of Equivocating, Equity Decides DNC Rules.

We can consider compensation in the form of restitution to somebody else. Shall we petition Cindy to go visit Ceske (city of) Budojovic and the brewery Budojovicky-Budvar there, and set up a scholarship series for, say 7,000 deserving Czech Republic children a year? Put them through college? We forget that they may have a higher literacy rate than we do. Do they? Then set up American children.

Ask the candidate. Why should beer heiresses or anyone else profit from keeping us ignorant. Ask the FDA. People who make the money know the ingredients, why shouldn't the swallowers? Ask Cindy. Does she think that is fair?

Citizen McCain? Do you support the right of the consumer to know what we are consuming.

What else can Cindy do to make nice, since Budvar has been doing its beer since 1265, then got trumped by money and laws in the US. Send in your ideas.

7. Next: Apply the purity standard, the Reinheitsgebot, to the news. Pure news. Green news. If you want to call yourself news, you report only facts, observable, observed, known by other means, and carefully and fully laid out so we clearly understand before being asked to choose.

No, since this is America, anything can call itself news - like beer with who knows what in it, since they don't have to tell us, even partial reporting, false connections, spewing and shaking to humiliate somebody. Is that right?

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