“This election season, call Budweiser ‘America’”
~No, We’re Not Going To Fucking Do That
Yesterday, Budweiser sent newsfeeds everywhere a-buzzing with the craaazy news that starting on May 23rd, all cans of Budweiser sold in the United States will instead say “America” in their iconic font. Basically, you can “order an American” at the bar if you really want to see how many times your bartender can hear a person chortle at the same poorly formed semi-dad joke before they finally snap and burn the place to the fucking ground. This is a bit of an extension of previous years when Budweiser changed their packaging in the summer to more patriotic can designs, but it’s the first time they’ve actually removed their brand name to place the name of this great nation on it. You would think we would be enthused by such raw support of all things American.
You would be wrong.
To address this, we will cede the floor to Johnny Roosevelt, the Editor-in-Chief of America Fun Fact of the Day, who last took the time to personally address you all last summer when he spent 2,500 words personally insulting a rich egomaniac with a history of assault and an extensive gun collection. Surprisingly he’s still alive to let you know why Budweiser is wrong and bad for trying to get you to call it America. Take it away, chief.
Johnny Roosevelt Speaks: Do Not Call Budweiser “America” No Matter What The Can Tells You
I understand that this is an opinion, and that other people might disagree with me. I also understand during 99% of human history, I could have said, “You know, disease doesn’t come from air going bad” and other people would disagree with me as well. What I’m trying to say is that Budweiser is a fucking toilet water beer, and if you feel the need to defend it passionately you’re doing alcoholism wrong. Budweiser is not a beer we want associated with America, and it’s about time people called them out for taking the patriotic-July-fourth marketing stance away from an actually American beer that either deserves it or at least doesn’t taste like you just saw someone roofie the jungle juice at a party.
The only thing worse than how aggressively Budweiser tries to conflate loyalty to their shitty beer with loyalty to this decidedly un-shitty nation is how people fall for it, as if Budweiser is the one beverage more American than apple pie (whiskey). Budweiser’s identity is the bullshit result of an international conglomerate operating through an American office hiring a New York ad firm that specializes in hiring Harvard graduates from the South who went to a NASCAR race that one time. Any sense of sincerity or honesty to their approach to America, or beer, went down the drain around the time they realized that they could trick people into thinking “brewed with 30% rice” could be warped into a selling point. If Budweiser was actually one of your “Buds” as they constantly insist, they’d be the one named Connor who waits for everyone else in the group to buy a round before realizing, “Oh, shit, I have an Uber waiting” the moment his turn comes up.
“Oh shit, thanks for the beers guys, but I’m about to get hit with a surge pricing!”
That’s not how Uber works, Connor…
“Shit, yeah, I’ll totally hit you back next time, but I’ve got to catch a ride with Gregory.”
You’re not even using the app, you don’t have a smart watch.
So here’s the thing. Outside of Budweiser’s taste (which is bad, but not, say, Milwaukee’s Best bad) this whole “America” thing is woefully undeserved. Budweiser is not the “Great American Lager” it’s just the lager we’ve been forced to drink almost exclusively for so long we had three entire generations forget what good beer is supposed to taste like. Budweiser is not the first American brewery to have been founded (that goes to the “frankly, overrated, but we forgive them for it” Yuengling, established in 1829). It is not the first mass produced American beer (Schlitz had Budweiser beat to market by a solid 20 years, and it wasn’t even the first to go to multiple markets). Hell, and this is important people, it’s not even the biggest American-based brewery (tie between Yuengling and the Boston Beer Company).
It’s almost common knowledge now that in 2008, Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser, was bought out by InBev, a Belgium-Brazilian multinational brewing company. Simply put, Budweiser isn’t American anymore. Yes, it’s still largely brewed in America, and yes, there is an InBev North American Headquarters in St. Louis, but ultimately, when you plop down your hard-earned money for your shitty six-pack that’s not even as good as other, cheaper macro brews, whatever last penny or nickle of profit of that purchase does not end up in American hands. In the scheme of things, it’s not a big deal- we live in an international world, and that’s fine. But Budweiser sold out their position as America’s beer 8 years ago, and I’ll be fucked if I’m going to let them act like that makes them more American than, say, Samuel Adams, a brewery owned by Americans and named after a founding father.
It also doesn’t taste like someone opened a Miller and let it sit in the forest for three hours.
Budweiser went all out with their America cans. The slogan is now “E Pluribus Unum” and filled the can with all sorts of well-designed allusions to our nation and its greatness. It’s actually well-designed. That doesn’t have anything to do with how it will taste on the inside, but from an aesthetic standpoint, the Budweiser “America” cans are tasteful and honor America. I’m not going to deny that.
You see, half of you taking issue with this HOT TAKE are probably in the camp of, “Fuck off, Budweiser is good.” Most of that comes from nostalgia, which we can’t do anything about, with a scattering of people who will read this as “snob beer drinkers” telling you “not to buy cheap beer” except that every single beer I have written about as “better than Budweiser” is a relatively cheap beer, and this sentence is the only one that will use the word “hops” in the entire fucking article.
But the other half, you guys are reading me put way too much thought into people drinking a shitty beer for America, and you are saying, “What’s your problem, man? What’s wrong with someone celebrating America?”
The answer is, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating America, but don’t celebrate America as some bullshit marketing gimmick that’s predicated on the type of Americans who would buy a beer solely it has American labeling (a.k.a. the best Americans) basically getting tricked into buying a beer they grew up thinking was American. You know who also does an American-flag-bottle marketing gimmick for the Fourth of July? Svedka. And you know what? That’s almost more appropriate. That’s a Swedish vodka…that’s owned by an American company. At least the guy at the very top of the ladder there gives a shit about America. As opposed to InBev, who are primarily concerned with chocolate and pubic waxing (my knowledge of Belgium and Brazilian stereotypes are admittedly lacking).
But the Budweiser cans are going to be here to stay. Not only that, but they are going to be here all the way until the end of the November election, because never has a more elegant metaphor been crafted than Budweiser trying to call itself America during a six month period set to include a summer Olympics where Americans are expected to swim through actual shit and an Election cycle where the two candidates are so disliked that Bart Simpson actually feels like a valid write-in option.
Much to Hillary’s dismay.
If you already drink Budweiser, you do you, bud. At least it’s not the prison swill that is Bud Light. I’m not here to judge (said in the most judgemental way ever). Hell, you can even save your can and keep it up as decoration somewhere. You do you. But don’t drink Budweiser because it named itself “America.” Don’t fall for their tricks. Don’t reward them for blindly pushing the patriotism button that they frankly do not have the right to push. Budweiser is bad, and it is not America, so please, don’t call it that. Even if the can asks you nicely.