Essay

Explore the History of Budweiser’s Clydesdales

For nearly a century, Budweiser’s Clydesdale horses have served as the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company’s ambassadors. These magnificent horses have starred in Super Bowl advertisements and have even gone on a national tour, stopping in numerous cities. Even now, the Clydesdale horses are recognisable, so how did they come to represent Budweiser beer?

What Are Clydesdale Horses?

To begin with, you may be asking yourself, what precisely is a Clydesdale? According to National Museums Scotland, this type of draught horse originated in Scotland and was bred for hard farm and industrial work. Because of their strong muscles, Clydesdales grow bigger and taller than other horses.

Additionally, the hair on their lower legs has a characteristic “feathering” or length. This is an evolutionary adaption that protects draft horses from harsh terrain and keeps them warm.

Clydesdales usually have white markings on their legs and face and are bay, brown, or black in colour. Clydesdales are renowned for being incredibly gentle despite their massive stature. Regretfully, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust has likewise classified this breed as fragile.

How Did Clydesdales Become A Symbol for Anheuser-Busch?

The Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company has been using Clydesdales as a symbol for advertising and ads for a long time.

It all started with a gift. According to Anheuser-Busch, to celebrate the end of Prohibition, August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch III gave their father, August A. Busch, Sr., a surprise in 1933 by bringing six Clydesdale horses.

The firm then celebrated the end of Prohibition by sending a second six-horse Clydesdale rig to New York. The hitch then proceeded across the Mid-Atlantic and New England states before coming to an end in Washington, D.C.

Thousands of happy spectators witnessed the Clydesdale’s tour, which solidified the animal’s legendary status as a symbol of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company.

The firm team welcomed a new member in 1950. The mascot of the Budweiser Clydesdales is a Dalmatian. Even now, one of these puppies goes everywhere with every Clydesdale hitchhiker.

It only seemed sense that the Clydesdales would show up in Budweiser beer commercials when television became widely used. These magnificent horses made their initial appearance during Super Bowl IX in 1975, and they have even appeared in Super Bowl ads.

The Traveling Budweiser Clydesdales

The Budweiser Clydesdales are still a well-known representation of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company today. They still perform hundreds of times a year all around the nation.

A draught horse cannot just any horse become a Budweiser Clydesdale. A Clydesdale must be a gelding, at least four years old, and 18 hands at the whithers in order to be eligible. The horses are reddish brown in colour, with a white stripe across their faces and white feet, and weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds.

The Budweiser Clydesdales require a great deal of upkeep and preparation, particularly when they are making public appearances.

For most of the year, the horses travel with their expert groomers, and a separate team is in charge of their diet. A rigorous training programme is required of hitch drivers before they can earn the esteemed Budweiser Clydesdale Hitch Driver designation.

To manage all the equipment the horses require, a well-trained staff is also needed. This involves three 50-foot tractor-trailers to move the horses, the famous red, white, and gold beer waggon, and individually made harnesses and collars that weigh around 130 pounds apiece.

Where to See the Budweiser Clydesdales

As the Clydesdales tour the nation, fans of the breed may see these recognisable horses. On their own land, though, you are also welcome to view the horses.

While touring the brewery, guests visiting the Anheuser-Busch breweries in St. Louis can witness the Clydesdales at leisure. Additionally, you may see the horses in Boonville, Missouri’s renowned Warm Springs Ranch, a breeding facility for Budweiser Clydesdales.

Controversy

Despite having an excellent group of handlers, there has been some debate about the employment of the Budweiser Clydesdales.

According to NPR, PETA began a campaign in 2023 to expose Anheuser-Busch’s habit of docking the Clydesdales’ tails for aesthetic purposes. The wellbeing of the horse is not enhanced by docking for show.

Indeed, the practice may render the horse incapable of using its tail for communication or to swat away flies. The American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association both oppose tail docking.

Anheiser Bushch declared in 2023 that it would stop docking the tails of its Budweiser Clydesdale horses in response to PETA’s pressure campaign.