What Does “It’s the Budweiser of…” Mean?

Stay classy, Budweiser...

When someone says “It’s the Cadillac of…” you know they are saying it’s the best, the most feature-rich and the most prestigious of its peers. The phrase is used to describe something that provides both pampering and pride, something that probably exceeds your needs and will make those around you green with envy.  Of course Cadillac hasn’t really been the Cadillac of cars for the last 30 years, but the brand still endures as shorthand for indulgence and excellence.

Budweiser is a different story, and perhaps one that is changing.   15 years ago, my guess is it would represent “the gold standard,” but is that still the case?  In order to get a sense of how people these days regard the self-proclaimed “King of Beers,” I decided to Google “the Budweiser of” to see what came up.  It was quite the mixed bag. 

Let’s start with the good if you’re Budweiser (or someone trolling for them). Some people still see it as the gold standard, like the folks who provided these missives:

…It’s the Budweiser of set-top box DVRs. The TiVo Premiere Elite is simply the best recording and playback device ever made…

…the Cardinals are clearly the Budweiser of the NL Central…

…We could, 20 or 30 years from now, be the Budweiser of marijuana…

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That last one cracked me up for some reason!

More prevalent were people using the “the Budweiser of” to indicate established, common, and in most cases affordable, without really touching on the quality of the product itself beyond basic competence:

…Smirnoff is the budweiser of vodka…

…Public Storage is the largest, they’re the Budweiser of the storage industry…

…It’s like the Budweiser of guitars…

…this is the world-famous Red Bull – the Budweiser of Energy Drinks…

…Think of inexpensive Pinot Grigios as the Budweiser of wines…

…World renowned bartender described the Mojito as “The Budweiser of Cuba”…

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Finally, many people were using the phrase to describe something that was image over substance:

…Bacardi is like the Budweiser of rums — its popularity far outstrips its quality…

…Guinness is the Budweiser of stout…

…Time Warner Cable is the Budweiser of Internet Providers…

…In a way it’s like the Budweiser of punk rock. I have to admit can’t be objective about Nirvana’s music…

…Internet Explorer is kind of like the Budweiser of the web browsers. It’s the most common and always “selected” out of fear or ignorance…

…Just as Becks is more product than player, Bud has always been more about marketing than amber nectar. It was dubbed “slop” even by its own inventor who never deemed it good enough to drink but it has seduced enough suckers to call itself ‘the king of beers’. Becks’ inventors had the audacity to call him Goldenballs – with similarly regal success. … It’s all a matter of opinion but no one I know would be seen dead with a bottle just as they would never call Becks a great footballer. Yet they might call him the Budweiser of players…

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Of all the quotes above the one that I like best is “Internet Explorer is kind of like the Budweiser of the web browsers. It’s the most common and always ‘selected’ out of fear or ignorance.”  I think that nails it for me!

My guess is that the rise of craft beer will continue to push the meaning of  “the Budweiser of” towards this last set of quotes – something that’s common, cheap and not very good, mostly reserved for those who don’t care about quality or simply don’t want to think about what they consume.  Of course I’m a beer geek, so that just might be skewing my perspective on things.  :)

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle, Off Topic

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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41 Comments on “What Does “It’s the Budweiser of…” Mean?”

  1. December 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    So if you were to say this blog “is the _______________ of _________________” how would you fill in those blanks?

    • December 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      Budweiser of beer blogs?

      • December 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

        Wow, set and spike!

        I thought that would take longer, Zac!

        • December 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

          I wanted to post “first” but I couldn’t resist.

        • December 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

          I think we’l know we’ve made it the first time we get some random stranger posting “First!!” in our comments.

          I only hope that it’s the fourth comment down so we can all make fun of him or her.

  2. December 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    “This blog is the Citizen Kane of bear-infused beer and whiskey info”.

    I have to give thumbs up for properly translating “the Cardinals are the Budweiser of the NL Central” to mean “the gold standard”, as the Cardinals obviously are.

    When I say something is “the Budweiser of…”, I’m generally comparing it to something akin to McDonalds. Cheap and mediocre/lacking substance, and prevalent.

    • December 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

      Citizen Kane – is that the old movie that some fat guy made about a sled?

      • December 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

        I literally just laughed out loud.

        Depending on which film theory you subscribe to, the sled is actually the vagina of William Randolph Hearst’s mistress.

        • December 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

          Vagina! Hooray!!!

        • December 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

          I didn’t know that Charles Foster Kane even knew Hearst. Come to think of it, their life stories are eerily similar. WEIRD.

    • Wayne
      December 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

      John echoes my thoughts on Budweiser as a standard exactly!

      As for the B&WB Blog I’d say its the Andrea Bocelli of blogs, i.e., popular and substantive, with good quality but not the creme de la creme (that would be Enrico Caruso or Luciano Pavarotti.)

      • December 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

        So we’re the PDiddy of beer and whiskey blogs? But not the Kanye or Jay-Z?

        • Wayne
          December 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

          Sorry Jim, I’m an old fart that’s all lost on me.

        • December 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

          I’m happy to report that it’s mostly lost on me as well…

  3. December 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    I think the bottom group is more accurate where the other meanings for “Budweiser is…” rely more on Bud’s image than reality. The problem the beer industry has (macro and micro) is that Budweiser is what everyone thinks of when they think beer. This is what relegates Bud to wine’s dumber, uglier step-brother. Beer is seen as simplistic, cheap, unsophisticated, etc.because this is what Bud represents. Never mind that I just forked over $20 for a bottle of Firestone Walker’s 15th Anniversary Ale. The Budweiser problem is a big one to overcome. It might be what’s keeping craft beer’s market share under 10%.

    • December 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      It’ll certainly take a long time to turn the tides of perception. Meanwhile, nice score on the Firestone 15! $20 wouldn’t get you a world-class wine drinking experience.

      • December 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

        Yeah, 12 bottles showed up this morning. I work from home most days. So, I was able to score a few bottles for myself and some friends.

        • December 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

          Sounds like you’re “home” is the beer aisle of your bottle shop.

          “I was working at my desk when a guy came in with a handtruck full of Firestone 15…”

        • December 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

          I also scored a few bottles for my friends, which usually means I get to try it when they open it.

        • December 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

          Grocery store, actually. We don’t have a true bottle shop here. Sadly, our best beer spot is a grocery chain. Sometimes, we have to hit all three locations to find rare stuff. Other than that, we have a gas station and wine store with decent selections.

  4. December 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    This blog is the “60 Minutes” of Beer and Whiskey news. Accessible, but not afraid to nail someone to the wall if they deserve it. Jim’s takedown of “Geez” was very Mike Wallace-ish. Don fills the Andy Rooney role of cranky curmudgeon, only more bearlike and, you know, alive.

    • December 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

      ^LULZ.

    • December 2, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      Mike Wallace actually helped me get my first job out of college, so I double-appreciate the reference. He’s a pretty cool dude.

    • December 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      And Don doesn’t have the eyebrows to compete with Andy Rooney – you could’ve made a sweater with those things!

  5. December 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    The beer nerd and internet nerd in me wants to see a post equating web browsers to beers now.

    Internet Explorer = Budweiser (will get you on the internet/drunk and is available everywhere. Much better options are available but most people don’t bother to look)

    • December 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      I guess Netscape would be Schlitz :(

  6. Jeff
    December 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Sixth!

    • December 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

      Nice! So close, too!!

  7. Brendan
    December 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Fosters! It’s Australian for Budweiser, mate!

    Glenlivet 12 is the Budweiser of Scotch.

    To me, the term = mass-market, lowest-common-denominator, culturally homogenized, accessible in a non-challenging way.

    • December 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      Yeah, I omitted all of the “It’s the Budweiser of Italy” and Germany and Spain and etc. comments I came across – maybe that’s for another post. The Budweisers of the World!

  8. December 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    How about the Floyd the Barber of Beer & Whiskey Blogs… Always there to chat ;)

    It’s funny, but both the Cadillac of… and the Budweiser of… have always meant the worst, overrated, and tacky of something to me. When I was a kid in the Seventies waiting for the day when I’d get my license, Cadillacs were seen as the most gaudy, over the top, pimp mobiles you could get. And with my Dad’s family coming from Colorado, Budweiser was looked on as downstream, polluted Mississippi River water swill; they were all proud Coors drinkers. So I think it’s all a matter of perspective when you allude to something being the something or other.

    Our standard was always the Rolls-Royce or Ferrari of something.

    • December 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      I agree that the Ferrari is the Cadillac of supercars! :)

  9. December 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Heh. “we could be the Budweiser of marijuana…” So, they’re saying they are aspiring to become the Bud of bud?

    • December 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

      I wish I would’ve thought of that!

  10. Geez
    December 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    I would say this is the Natty Light of Craft Beer Blogs of course!
    (thats not such a bad thing, Natty is the 5th best selling beer.)

    Curious to know your thoughts on Kraftig, Billy Busch’s new brew (not an AB product.) The Budweiser of Craft Beer? Least thats what they are shooting for…

    http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/gutcheck/2011/11/william_k_busch_brewing_company_kraftig_lager_light.php

    • December 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      Between the fake name and the intent to brew what sells to the masses (a light lager), it strikes me as being a premium macro, unadulterated swill as opposed to the riced up stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but I’d say just buy a Yeungling instead!

    • December 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      Also, it’s nice to have you here without your veil on Geez. We welcome all comers and points of view, and yours is a pretty interesting one (especially since we now know where you’re coming from).

  11. Geez
    December 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    And NO I’m not trolling here, i have no relationship with Kraftig! I haven’t tried one yet either…but will when i can find it on draft.

    • December 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      Ha ha – I didn’t think of that, but I’m glad you told us you have no affiliation. Folks would’ve asked!

  12. Sean
    December 5, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Cascades are the Budweiser of hops.

    • December 5, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      I’m sure they use more than anybody!

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