June 22, 2004


Canadians have tasted US economic imperialism -- and they like it:

Recently, Budweiser -- America's "King of Beers" -- usurped the Canadian lager throne, outselling both Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue in this country for the first time ever.

Perhaps Michael Moore’s recent appearance in Toronto will remind Canadians of American beer’s embiggening effects and scare them away from US products.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 22, 2004 05:03 AM

I recently heard some complaints from a beer commissioner in Munich, decrying recent increases in market share for Budweiser among German beerdrinkers.

Germans are to blame for the weak american beers, since american breweries developed them during WWII to appeal to the lighter tastes of the women workers in the defense factories of the time. The men of the 30s and 40s had heavier beer tastes, but most of them were overseas fighting the Germans and Japanese.

Posted by: Blythe at June 22, 2004 at 05:43 AM

As an American, and a beer drinker, I hereby apologize for Budweiser. It is by far the worst beer (excepting Mich Ultra, which may not qualify as a beer) on the planet. It's not that I'm a beer snob, as I drink quite a bit of Miller Lite (though my favorite is Sam Adams). It's just that Bud products give me the shitz.
(P.S. If you look on a Sam Adams product, it declares Sam as a "Brewer, Patriot" showing that he had his priorities in order).

Posted by: JohnO at June 22, 2004 at 07:20 AM

Being a true red-white-and-blue American, and as a former Canadian college student (U of Toronto 1975), I have to say that any Canuck who picks Budweiser over Molsen's or Labatt's should have his head examined. Bud is right down there with Black Label, Red White and Blue, or Iron City - the brews that people drink when it's that or the rubbing alcohol. Guys, there's a reason why Annheiser-Busch keeps all those Clydesdales!

But it gets worse: when I was in Ireland last summer, I saw otherwise self-respecting Irishmen drinking Bud instead of Guinness! Oh, the horror!

Posted by: Brown Line at June 22, 2004 at 07:38 AM

When I saw Chelsea play Middlesborough at Stanford Bridge a couple of months ago, Budweiser was the only beer available. There's so much wrong with that, I hardly know where to begin.

That said, I will admit to liking the Canadian version of Bud better than Blue or Molson Canadian. But 'tis a moot point, because the only *real* beer is Newcastle Brown Ale.

Posted by: Damian P. at June 22, 2004 at 08:16 AM

yea, i too must apologize for budweiser. i am truly sorry, world.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 22, 2004 at 08:36 AM

Q: "Why is Budweiser like making love in a canoe?"

A: "It's f***ing close to water."

Posted by: Ernie G at June 22, 2004 at 09:47 AM

Bud sucks (Miller is, in my humble opinion 100% worse), but I suspect that most people who drink it do so either out of habit or because it's cheap. There's a hell of a lot of good American beer out there these days!

Posted by: Sean M. at June 22, 2004 at 10:00 AM

And furriners probably drink it because it has the magical aura of "import".

Even if it is brewed in Canada under license (which it probably is)

Posted by: Kevin at June 22, 2004 at 10:26 AM

Also, isn't the canadian market segmented along provincial lines?

As in you can buy a labatts in some provinces but you can't get a molson and vice versa.

Posted by: Kevin at June 22, 2004 at 10:27 AM

I - in my younger days - drank rivers of both Molson's Canadian & Labatt's Blue. Then I discovered beer; haven't looked back.

Posted by: ras at June 22, 2004 at 10:31 AM

Bud sounds like our great export beer Fosters Lager. Its Australias great overpriced joke on the beer drinking populace of the rest of the world. No-one over here drink the sh#t.
However I do enjoy laughing at Yuppie wannabes paying six dollars for a Bud at my local watering hole over here!

Posted by: Yasonas at June 22, 2004 at 10:37 AM

Having lived in Denver, home of numerous microbrewies, I am in fact a beer snob. Bud is awful; so are Coors, Miller Lite, Busch, etc. It's like panther piss. If you're gonna be bad, at least be good at it, like Genessee Cream Ale (the "Screamers"), or Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Damian is right on - Newcastle is a tremendous beer -- in my top five for major beers. Gotta love Guinness, especially if you've only got enough money for one beer, and need to do some serious nursing. In Denver, Left Hand Brewing Co. makes a great sawtooth ale, and the Wynkoop Brewpub had several above average beers.

Denver was also great for the Great American Beer Festival every year. It's where I first discovered the pleasure of a barley wine, as well as smoked beer!

Posted by: Jerry at June 22, 2004 at 12:16 PM

Two or three times a year I get to visit Calgary and always have a few Sleeman Dark beers, which aren't sold in the States yet. So, Canada, let's trade. I'll trade you Bud for the Sleeman Dark. Deal?

Posted by: Dave in Chicago at June 22, 2004 at 12:57 PM

I can't believe anyone would prefer Budweiser over anything.

We discovered German and English beers in the 70s. Back in the States, we discovered microbreweries. There is hope if you hang on long enough.

Posted by: Rebecca at June 22, 2004 at 01:23 PM

Molson's is pretty fine beer, I drank it the whole time I was in Canada. Budweiser is undrinkable, but luckily most American pubs brew their own, drinkable beer.

Posted by: yobbo at June 22, 2004 at 02:11 PM

I'll just have a Coke.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at June 22, 2004 at 02:56 PM

Australia's major breweries produce some of the most lamentable yellow, gaseous, chemical piss ever to be fraudulently labelled "beer". Some of it would give Bud a run for sheer rotteness.

Visitors to this part of the world might like to have a go at the ales and premium lagers of James Squire, Coopers, Southwark, Matilda Bay or Boags -to name some of the better small breweries.

And to dispell one of the most grotesque lies ever propogated about my fair country: Australians do not drink bloody Fosters ...

Posted by: Paul Pottinger at June 22, 2004 at 04:56 PM

Boags is good. I used to drink that stuff in Earl's Court.

As they say - don't take the piss out of Budweiser, it needs all the flavour it can get.

Canadian beer is vastly, grotesquely over-rated. If you want head-banging, flavourful beer at rock-bottom prices, hie thee hence to Poland and get yourself outside a half dozen Okocim Mozny.

Posted by: David Gillies at June 22, 2004 at 06:31 PM

I recently heard some complaints from a beer commissioner in Munich, decrying recent increases in market share for Budweiser among German beerdrinkers.

There are two Budweiser beers, the US product and the Czech product.

The Czech product is also known as Budejovicky Budvar.
The Czech product is made in Ceske Budejovice,
called Budweis in German, (Budweiser is something/body from Budweis, just as Berliner is something/body from Berlin, or Hamburger from Hamburg).
During the Austro-Hungarian times, about 40% of the population of Budweis were German speaking.

In Germnay only the Czech product can be labeled "Budweiser". A bit like the rule that Port comes from Portugal, and Champagne from the Champagne district of France.

The US Bud is sold in Germany as AB (Anheuser-Busch)

Under German notion of Beer, Bud is not a beer, as it contains rice.

Posted by: peggy sue at June 22, 2004 at 06:43 PM

While I lived in Half Moon Bay, California, on the coast, approximately 20 miles South of San Francisco, I made the following observations. In a local restaurant/carry-out place, which served outstanding burritos, the Anglo/Yuppies drank "Corona." The more discerning ones drank "Dos Equis" or "Negro Modela." The Mexicans (agricultural workers) and Portugese (fisherman) drank "Budweiser." Just thought I'd mention it.

Posted by: CGeib at June 22, 2004 at 08:20 PM

Dear David

Re: Czech grog - I reckon Urquell has to be the best pilsner (to say nothing of being the 1842 original) to pass this particular palate.

Posted by: Paul Pottinger at June 22, 2004 at 08:52 PM

Thread pretentiousness alert: Red

Oh, come on. Cool it with the "I'm so beer-wise" slams at Bud. It is a light, pleasant, beer ordinaire. You don't like it, don't drink it.

And I'm really pretty sure the Clydesdales just haul it around, and are not part of the brewing process...

Posted by: Parker at June 22, 2004 at 11:37 PM

I look forward to lots of people slagging Tim for his use of the word "embiggening", failing to realize that it's a perfectly cromulent word.

PS: Sam Adams! And Sam Adams Cherry Wheat.

Posted by: Rosco at June 22, 2004 at 11:41 PM

In the US, Czech Budweiser is marketed as Czechvar, which is pretty inexpensive from what I've seen, since no one knows what it is.

Posted by: Tim Shell at June 23, 2004 at 03:12 AM

Fine then-I'll start with the Tim slagging: Tim, Tim, Tim, "embiggening" is a grotesque bastardization worthy of American cultural imperialism. Considering it's use in this sense, could you not have settled on something more precise such as "overhyperbigulation"?

Posted by: James at June 23, 2004 at 10:40 AM

For your info, Canadian Bud is indeed produced under licence, I believe by Labatt. Big, big difference is that it is 5%, unlike the US 2.5% product (which is why imported beer from the US tastes so watery and thin; most US brands in Canada such as Coors, Miller etc are "CanAm" locally-produced 5% versions). Correcting another reader, Labatt and Molson are available in their many guises in every part of the Dominion, and in recent years most regional brands except for Quebec brands have become available nationally, eg Alexander Keith's, Sleemans, etc.

I lived in Texas for a number of years and also noticed that while many Texans bought the many, often very fine brands of Mexican beer (most of them now available in Canada as well), most actual Mexicans there drank Bud...

Posted by: JGS at June 23, 2004 at 12:01 PM

Um, regarding the word "embiggening:"

Haven't you people been watching The Simpsons for the last 15 years? See the episode where Bart cuts of the head of the statue of Jedidiah Springfield...

Posted by: Jerry at June 23, 2004 at 12:21 PM