Budweiser Wasn’t Always the ‘King of Beers’: Here’s What It Used to Call Itself

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

When we hear the term “king of beers” we all know what beer brand comes to the minds of most beer lovers…Budweiser. When the Anheuser-Busch brewery was created in 1879 the company was making strides in the industry. Pioneering in pasteurization technology which allows the popular brew to safely be shipped all across the country- without spoiling. This, of course, made Budweiser a prominent feature among beer markets across the United States, and even beyond. Making Budweiser, as the beer’s initial slogan says, the ‘King of Bottled Beer.’

Budweiser Was Always ‘King’ – Even If the Slogan Was A Little Different In the Early Days

Yes, that’s right, Budweiser has claimed the “king” title for quite some time. However, just exactly what the beer brand has been the king of has changed over the years. Sure, it may be a slight difference in words. But, these slogan changes give us a glimpse into the history of Budweiser as a whole.

After German immigrant Adolphus Busch arrived in the United States in 1857, he soon met and married Lilly Anheuser. Shortly afterward, Busch began work at his father-in-law’s brewery. The brewery was officially named Anheuser-Busch in 1879. And later changed the brewing game with its updated pasteurization technology.

Leading the Way In Bottled Beer Sales

With the ability to bottle beers through a pioneering pasteurization process, Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser became the first nationally distributed beer. At this time, beer brewers primarily processed brews inside draught kegs and glass bottles. Budweiser skipped the draught keg route for the most part. Making the brand the “King of Bottled Beer.”

However, Budweiser’s competition soon grew. The company then tweaked the slogan – just a bit – to “King of All Bottled Beers,” prior to the introduction of prohibition in 1920. But, the business barely skipped a beat during this time, keeping business going with a variety of alternative products during this time. When prohibition ended in 1933, Budweiser’s popular bottled beers returned – again with the title “King of Bottled Beer.”

Budweiser Keeps the Crown, Even As the Brand Switches to Aluminum

In the mid-twentieth century, however, Budweiser beer got a promotion of sorts. The company changed the slogan from “King of Bottled Beer” to “King of Beers” when the company added aluminum cans to its brand. This slogan remains on the Budweiser label, to this day.

However, the slogan has faced challenges in recent years. For decades, Budweiser’s “King of Beers” slogan remained spot-on as the brand regularly claimed the spot as the country’s top-selling beer. However, Budweiser would soon be unseated from this post. In 2001, Bud Light knocked Bud-heavy off its throne as the best-selling beer brand.