No beer is more easily recognizable in the United States than Budweiser. But what if I told you this wasn’t the only Budweiser? What if there were actually two Budweiser brewing companies that have been at war with one another for 11o years? Well, you wouldn’t be wrong for believe it.
The co-founder of American Budweiser, Adolphus Busch, came to the United States in the late 1800’s to start a new brewing company. His vision was “to produce a beer of the same quality, colour and taste as the beer produced in Budejovice [the Czech name for the town known as Budweis in German] or Bohemia.”
While American Budweiser insists the name of the company has no relation to the town, their rival, Czech Budweiser Budvar, has been crying foul for more than 100 years.
This fight has included roughly 124 lawsuits to date with more pending in the coming years. The bad-blood between these two companies even draws David versus Goliath type rhetoric, but for good reason.
Budweiser Budvar is a state owned company that employs 600 people and sells 1.4M hectoliters of beer annually. American Budweiser on the other hand employs 150,000 people and sells 400M hectoliters of beer annually.
The Czech based brewery has been able to navigate both the European and American courts remarkably well over the past century. To date, they claim to have won 89 of the cases with another eight cases being either ending in a draw or settlement.
Recently, American Budweiser has been the punching bag over a recent advertising campaign.
In brewing, the lager must sit for an extended period of time for important steps to take place. Waiting allows the beer to ferment and adds to the richness and flavor.
Budweiser Budvar came out with a new campaign praising the fact they allow their beer to ferment for a full twenty days. The slogan said, “you can’t rush perfection.” The centerpiece of the campaign focusing on how long it takes to brew their beer.
Nearly a year later, American Budweiser came out with a new advertising campaign highlighting, you guessed it, longer brewing time.
Simon George of Budweiser Budvar UK pointed out that American Budweiser used the exact same slogan as them. The slogan now held by both companies is, “you can’t rush perfection.”
While the intentions of American Budweiser will never be fully understood, this does seem to coincidental not to be direct plagiarism.
One thing is for certain, the rivalry will continue for the foreseeable future.