This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 13, 2008 - As Anheuser-Busch seemed destined to fall into the hands of InBev, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men apparently couldn’t do – or say – much about it.
All across the king of beer’s domain in St. Louis, a quiet anxiety reigned on Thursday, a day after A-B officially announced the buyout offer from the Belgium-based brewer. Only the sturdy Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis County seemed to be taking things in stride, peacefully grazing in their spacious pastures. Would InBev dare replace them on the beer wagon with a team of Belgian draft horses?
The proud Clydesdales weren’t talking … and neither were several workers interviewed.
At the plant on Pestalozzi Street, a worker leaving the building stopped to chat with a watchman. Today, perhaps, their jobs had more in common than usual.
What did they make of InBev’s proposal?
“The brewery has asked us not to talk about it,” said the worker. “They have the facts. All we know about it is what we read there,” he said, motioning toward a newspaper box along the sidewalk.
At the Teamsters hall on Wisconsin Avenue, a group of workers gathered round a table of A-B products, deriving it seemed little pleasure out of their frosty beverages on this hot June day. And what did they think of their beloved brand selling out to the Europeans? One in the sober-face crowd pointed toward “Mike,” identified as their business agent.
“You picked a bad day,” said Mike. “No comment.”
A day, perhaps, for St. Louisans to cry in their beer. If this can happen to the icon of the city, what’s next? Haagen-Dazs buying Ted Drewes’?
Ray Jordan is a free-lance writer.