On April 7, 1933, August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch III surprised their father, August A. Busch, Sr., with the gift of a six-horse Clydesdale hitch to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition.
Realizing the marketing potential of a horse-drawn beer wagon, the company also arranged to have a second six-horse Clydesdale hitch sent to New York on April 7 to mark the event. The Clydesdales, driven by Billy Wales, drew a crowd of thousands as they clattered down the streets of New York City to the Empire State Building. After a small ceremony, a case of Budweiser was presented to former Governor Alfred E. Smith in appreciation of his years of service in the fight against Prohibition.
This hitch continued on a tour of New England and the Middle Atlantic States thrilling thousands on its way. The Clydesdales made a stop in Washington D.C. in April 1933 to reenact the delivery of one of the first cases of Budweiser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The actual delivery had been shipped by air and presented on April 7, 1933. The St. Louis hitch, driven by Art Zerr, also toured in celebration, stopping in Chicago and other Midwestern cities.
Shortly after the hitch was introduced, the six-horse Clydesdale team was increased to eight. On March 30, 1950, in commemoration of the opening of the Newark Brewery, a Dalmatian was introduced as the Budweiser Clydesdales’ mascot. Now, a Dalmatian travels with each of the Clydesdale hitches. Today, Anheuser-Busch owns approximately 250 Clydesdales; they continue to be an enduring symbol of the brewer’s heritage, tradition and commitment to quality.
- More Budweiser Clydesdale facts can be found here.
- Information on Warm Springs Ranch, the Budweiser Clydesdale breeding facility, can be found here.
- Upcoming Clydesdale appearances can be found on Budweiser.com. Look for the “World of Budweiser” tab, and then click the Clydesdales link.
- Journalists who need photos and high-res video of the Clydesdales may send us a request.