Billy Busch Breaks Down the History Behind His Book, FAMILY REINS

The uniquely American story of the Anheuser-Busch Empire.


n his own words, Billy Busch details the long-standing impact his family has had on the American war and business industries dating back to WWI. The story below gives a glimpse into his new book FAMILY REINS: The Extraordinary Rise and Epic Fall of an American Dynasty.

In my book, Family Reins, I share how achieving the American dream is possible by honoring your country, having faith, working hard, and sacrificing to obtain a goal. My great-grandfather, Adolphus, realized all the possibilities and left his home in Germany to live the American dream. He then signed up for the Union Army and fought in the Civil War. Later, to advance his company, he obtained the rights to build the first diesel engines in the US from Rudolph Diesel of Germany. Adolphus formed the Busch-Sulzer Co. and during WWI these engines were made by Anheuser-Busch to power the American submarine fleet.

Adolphus’s son August Sr. took over the business and led the company through thirteen years of prohibition. Even though August did not agree with banning alcohol, his love and respect for America compelled him to follow its laws while asserting his claim to the government that prohibition encouraged corruption and hurt the economy. His son Adolphus Busch III succeeded his father after prohibition and led the company through the end of the Great Depression and WWII. Adolphus showed his loyalty to America by using the Anheuser-Busch platform to run marketing campaigns built around helping Americans come together after surviving the Great Depression and winning WWII. Throughout much of this time, Anheuser-Busch’s focus was supporting America, which meant marketing its products took a back seat. During WWII, Adolphus voluntarily shut down beer sales along the West Coast which allowed the railroad to better support the military. He also had Anheuser-Busch manufacture brewer’s yeast tablets as an added protein supplement for soldiers. Adolphus then instructed the company to build airplane parts and hoists to move ammunition for the military. His brother, August A. Busch Jr., joined the army during WWII. He became a colonel due to his success in coordinating American production from various industries to support the war effort. Later, he would become the fourth Busch leader of Anheuser-Busch and a lifetime staunch patriot of the United States of America.

My family’s patriotism and success has helped me to respect and love America and the principles our country was built on. Although we are not perfect—nothing really is—we always strive to be better. We have a government for the people and with that comes a responsibility to support America in any way we can. Voting, following laws, and standing up for the freedoms that built our country are all part of these responsibilities. We live in the greatest country in the world where people can choose the path in the life they want to live. In this country anything is possible.

About the Author:

Billy Busch is the founder of the Busch Family Brewing & Distilling Company and an heir to the Anheuser-Busch multi-billion-dollar fortune. He is the proud father of seven children and stars with his wife in the MTV reality series The Busch Family Brewed. A graduate of St. Louis University, he played professional polo, winning the US Open polo tournament. He and his wife, Christi, a film producer and head of Busch Productions, live on their seven-hundred-acre estate in St. Louis, Missouri.

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