Many of America’s most famous businesses were founded by immigrants. Among them is Anheuser-Busch, a brewing company co-founded by German immigrant Adolphus Busch. Adolphus Busch was born on July 10th, 1839, in the Mainz, a city in Hesse.
Adolphus was born to wealthy parents who ran a winery and brewery supply business and was one of 22 children. He received an education, graduating from the Collegiate Institute of Belgium. When he was 18 he immigrated with three of his brothers to St. Louis; the city was a major destination for German immigrants who, unlike immigrants from other parts of Europe, more often had the money to immigrate farther inland than the major cities on the East Coast. Busch first worked as a clerk but soon started his own brewery. After that business went bankrupt, Busch served in the army for six months during the civil war. He returned home to marry the daughter of Eberhard Anheuser, a soap manufacturer who lent Adolphus money. Anheuser bought Busch’s brewery and renamed it. When Buschs’s father died, he inherited a portion of the family business and bought out Eberhard’s partner and in 1879 the company was renamed again to Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser died in 1880 and Busch became president. Busch implemented pasteurization into his beer, allowing it to be shipped across the country. He also put in practice the idea of vertical integration, bringing all of the component parts of beer production under his control. Busch bought the rights to the trademark Budweiser in 1882 and grew extremely wealthy from the sale of beer. Later in life, Busch made extensive philanthropic contributions. In 1882 he helped fund relief efforts for a flood in Germany and in 1906 he contributed $100,000 to San Francisco after the earthquake in that city. He also funded education, giving Harvard $350,000. While vacationing in Germany in 1913, Busch died on October 10th, at the age of 74.
Adolphus Busch innovations and business practices revolutionized the beer-making industry at a time when the American economy was undergoing significant advancement in all areas. Busch’s contributions to the American economy at such an important time remind us of the great contributions that immigrants have made to America’s economic success and thus to the growth of America as a world power.