Adolphus Busch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Adolphus Busch, see Adolphus Busch (disambiguation).
Adolphus Busch
Adolphus busch2.jpg
Born (1839-07-10)July 10, 1839
Flagge Großherzogtum Hessen ohne Wappen.svg Kastel (Hesse, Germany)
Died October 10, 1913(1913-10-10) (aged 74)
Flagge Großherzogtum Hessen ohne Wappen.svg Lindschied (Hesse, Germany)
Occupation Brewing Executive and Founder
Net worth USD $60 million at the time of his death (approximately 1/781st of US GNP)[1]
Spouse(s) Lilly Eberhard Anheuser (m. 1861)
Children Adolphus Busch II
August A. Busch, Sr.
Carl Busch
Parent(s) Ulrich Busch and Barbara Pfeiffer

Adolphus Busch (10 July 1839 – 10 October 1913) was the German-born co-founder of Anheuser-Busch with his father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser. His great-great-grandson, August Busch IV is now on the board of Anheuser-Busch InBev.


Busch was born in 1839 in Kastel, then a district of Mainz in the Grand Duchy of Hesse.[2] He was the second youngest of 22 siblings. The family worked in winery and brewery supplies. He attended the Collegiate Institute of Belgium in Brussels, and left his home in 1857 with three of his brothers for St Louis; Johann, who established a brewery in Washington, Missouri, Ulrich, Jr, who married another daughter of Eberhard Anheuser and settled in Chicago and Anton, a hops dealer who later returned home to Mainz.

His first job in St Louis was working as a clerk in the commission house. He was also an employee at William Hainrichshofen's wholesale company.

He became acquainted with Lilly Anheuser, whose parents had a small brewery which her father Eberhard Anheuser acquired in 1860, renaming it from the Bavarian Brewery to the E. Anheuser Brewery.

He married Lilly Eberhard Anheuser on 7 March 1861 in St Louis. They had thirteen children; eight sons, including Adolphus Busch II, August Anheuser Busch I and Carl Busch, and five daughters.

During the American Civil War he served in the United States Army for 14 months. It was at this time that he learned that his father had died and that he had inherited a portion of his father's estate. He used the money to start a wholesale brewer's supply store, and four years later he bought a share in the Bavarian brewery from Eberhard Anheuser, his father-in-law. The company was first called "Anheuser and Company", but at the death of Eberhard Anheuser in 1880, it was changed to "Anheuser Busch Company".

The Busch Mausoleum at Bellefontaine Cemetery, designed by Barnett, Haynes & Barnett.

The rapid success of the Anheuser Brewery made its owner independent and permitted him to perform philanthropic activities, such as assisting in the repair of the devastating 1882 flooding of Kastel-Mainz by the Rhine River.

In 1891 Adolphus bought from Carl Conrad the trademark and name Budweiser.

He envisioned a national beer with universal appeal. Toward this end, he created a network of rail-side ice-houses and launched the industry’s first fleet of refrigerated freight cars. However, throughout his life, he referred to his beer as "that slop"[citation needed] (website cites no source - may be made up )[3] and instead drank wine. Success came when Adolphus implemented pasteurization as a way to keep the beer fresh for longer periods of time. The beer could now be shipped all over the country. He was also an early adopter of bottled beer. In 1901 sales surpassed the one million barrels of beer benchmark.

In 1912, Busch constructed the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas, then the tallest building in the state.

The Busches often traveled to Germany where they had a mansion, the Villa Lilly, which was named for Mrs Busch, in Lindschied near Langenschwalbach, in present-day Bad Schwalbach.

Later life and death[edit]

He died there in Lindschied in 1913 while on vacation. He had been suffering from dropsy since 1906.[4] His body was brought back in 1915 by ship to the United States and then a train to St. Louis and he was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.


MV Adolphus Busch is also an intentionally sunk ship off of the middle Florida Keys. Adolphus Busch IV contributed nearly $200,000 to the procurement of this vessel and its preparation for sinking as an artificial reef. As a result, the vessel was named in his honor. Today it is a marine habitat and popular dive site.[5]

Adolphus Busch also built a series of buildings in downtown Dallas. One of which was the Busch Building, now known as the Kirby Residences, located at 1509 Main St. It is a national historic landmark.


  1. ^ Klepper, Michael; Gunther, Michael (1996). The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates – A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past and Present. Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group. p. xiii. ISBN 978-0-8065-1800-8. OCLC 33818143. 
  2. ^ "Title unknown". [dead link]
  3. ^ McClelland, Edward (17 July 2008). "The rise and fall of an American beer". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  4. ^ "Adolphus Busch Dies in Prussia" (PDF). The New York Times. October 11, 1913. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  5. ^ Guzowski, Jeff. "The Wrecks We Dive". South Florida Divers, Inc. SCUBA Club. Retrieved 2013-04-24.