Don’t worry if you’ve been steadily pounding Budweiser beers and start to see horses in your head – it’s likely just the famous Budweiser horses helping to advertise your favorite brew! These beloved horses are Clydesdales, a working breed not usually seen every day.
Budweiser’s Clydesdales have come to symbolize American pride, dedication, and steadfastness, so there could be worse things than having them in your dreams. Nevermind that Budweiser is technically no longer an American beer company, as its parent company Anheuser-Busch was acquired by Belgian-Brazilian brewing company InBev in 2008. Nevermind, also, that the Clydesdale breed is actually Scottish!
Why does Budweiser Advertise with Horses?
Clydesdales have had a relationship with Budweiser ever since 1932, and the end of Prohibition in the U.S. August Busch, Jr. and his brother, Adolphus Busch, gave their father, August Busch, Sr., two six-horse teams of Clydesdales to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition – a time when beer drinking had to be done in secret, or not at all. This time marked a new period of success for the company and, so, the Clydesdales came to represent optimism and prosperity.
Budweiser uses the iconic horses in its advertising because of their ability to create emotional reactions, and when people get emotional, they drink! Who can forget the somber, moving post-9/11 Budweiser commercial, aired only once?
In it, a team of Clydesdales pull the Budweiser wagon from some small, snow-covered Midwestern town, all the way to some piece of New Jersey looking towards the Statue of Liberty and the site of the former Twin Towers. As they look upon Ground Zero, all eight of the horses kneel and bow. It’s incredibly powerful and, if you were drinking Budweiser while watching it, there’s no doubt your glass was soon full of tears.
Have there been other commercials with the Budweiser Horses?
The 9/11 commercial was by no means the only commercial featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales; if it was, they wouldn’t be iconic!! People would have been asking each other, “Why did Budweiser use horses in that commercial?”! If you are any kind of football fan at all, whether you have a favorite team or not, then you’ve likely seen Budweiser’s annual commercials during the Super Bowl.
We all know somebody who just watches the Super Bowl for the commercials (that person may be you, using any occasion at all to drink a beer), and Budweiser Super Bowl commercials are a tradition. People wait eagerly to see what the horses will be doing “this year”!
This started in 1996, with the memorable ad where two teams of Clydesdales play football, with one kicking the ball over the telephone poles and wires for a touchdown. The “they usually go for two” tag line, stated by one of the two Bud-drinking cowboys observing this scene of equine prowess, is brilliant!
The company had planned to nix the Clydesdales in commercials showing during the 2010 Super Bowl. They had filmed one, but it was decided by the head honchos that it wouldn’t air. However, Anheuser-Busch took the decision to social media, and Facebook fans voted to include the beloved horse commercial in the Budweiser commercial lineup, and so, the so-so “bull and horse friends” ad ran that year.
Can you ever see the Budweiser Horses in person?
If you want to become a Clydesdale horse groupie, there are ways to do it! Although they no longer pull a float in the Rose Parade (for some reason, Anheuser-Busch didn’t feel that its core constituency of beer swillers watched this parade) there are many other places where you can meet the famous Clydesdales in person. Several teams of horses tour the U.S. during the year, and you can go to Budweiser’s website to find their actual event schedule.
The company is focused on supporting events at military bases, so if you live near or on one, chances are good you’ll be able to get a hoofprint or two in your Memory Book. They had a “Here’s to the Heroes” tour in 2005, where one horse team left New York City traveling west and another team left San Francisco traveling east, and they met on July 4th in St. Louis (not coincidentally, the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch) to much fanfare and celebration.
You can always contact your local Anheuser-Busch distributor for tour information as well. As a loyal Budweiser drinker, you probably have a first-name relationship with your distributor anyway, so remember to ask him when he’s over for Sunday supper.
Anheuser-Busch always owns several theme parks around the country, and you can occasionally find a hitch or two of Clydesdales residing there for ogling and picture-taking opportunities. For a guaranteed visit with some of these beautiful creatures, make a beer pilgrimage to St. Louis and visit Grant’s farm, which is home to the Budweiser Clydesdale Stables. Or for more fun, take a tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery. You’ll learn about and visit with some of the Clydesdales AND get to sample some of your favorite brewskis!