A frosty mug of beer. Ales, lagers, stouts, porters … it’s all beer, it’s all glorious and it’s all found at breweries large and small throughout the Show-Me State. Everyone knows Missouri is the home of Anheuser-Busch, creator of the first national beer brand: Budweiser. But there is so much more to the Show-Me State beer story.
From Kansas City to Cape Girardeau, Springfield to Hannibal, every corner of the state has amazing craft brews in production and on tap, with gifted brewmasters creating traditional German-style lagers, summer wheat beers and age-old stouts while experimenting with imaginative new blends and flavors. Many of Missouri’s microbreweries offer tours and tastings; some include great dining. As of 2017, there were 81 craft brewers in the Show-Me State, double the number that existed just six years earlier, and some 58 more are in the planning stages.
In 1609, America’s first “help wanted” ad appeared. The job? A brewer.
In 1640, Massachusetts colony passed a law that stated “no one should be allowed to brew beer unless he’s a good brewer.” A common sense law if there ever was one.
Fast forward 200 years (we had to wait until the nation was founded, explorers came west, discovered Missouri and we were made a state) to 1840 when John Adam Lemp – a grocer – started Western Brewing in St. Louis and started making Falstaff. It was the largest brewery in the city in 1870 and remained so until Prohibition. The Lemp Brewery Company closed in 1921. (The era of Prohibition was the start of a downward spiral for the Lemp family, whose home still stands in St. Louis and is acknowledged as one of the most haunted mansions in the country.)
By the mid-1800s, there were more than 50 breweries in St. Louis, including one owned by Eberhard Anheuser, whose daughter married Adolphus Busch in 1861.
Busch was a master at marketing and used his brewery as a showplace for the public to visit. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery remains a popular tour to this day. Advertising genius evidently was passed down the generations. In 1933, Adolphus Busch and August A. Busch, Jr. presented their father with a gift to celebrate the end of Prohibition: the Budweiser Clydesdales.
The famous hitches have been used to promote the brand in parades, celebrations, ball games, and – most notably – television commercials. Their 2014 and 2015 Super Bowl ads featured another Missouri tourist mecca, Warm Springs Ranch near Boonville – the Clydesdales’ largest breeding facility.
So prowl the state in search of your perfect beer, created by people who brew the beer they want to see in the world. Because whether for serious celebration or quiet contemplation, nothing beats raising a glass with friends … especially when that glass is filled with your new favorite Missouri craft beer.