We slept a little late this morning and didn’t leave the RV park until about 9:45AM. Our goal was still Chattanooga, TN and the weather looked great. As luck would have it, we ran into quite a bit of rain once we were out on the interstate, but the traffic wasn’t bad and the rain would just come and go. In other words, we still made very good time. I-81 ended in Knoxville, TN and we picked up I-75 towards Chattanooga. In Chattanooga we would get on I-24 for a few miles to I-59 towards Birmingham, AL.
My mind sometimes works in strange and mysterious ways and I feel a rant coming on.
Start of Rant.
A Budweiser 18-wheeler passed us as we were driving along. I noticed their “King of Beers” slogan and said to myself, “It may be the best selling brand of beer in the US, but it’s not because it tastes any better than the others.” And then my brain just took off with the following:
Budweiser sells as much beer as they do because they have such an excellent marketing department and spend a ton of money. They have the Clydesdales and the really great Super Bowl commercials every year. It has nothing to do with taste. I’ll bet that the majority of people who claim to be brand-loyal to Budweiser wouldn’t be able to pick it out in a taste test with four other blonde lagers.
Then I remembered that Budweiser uses “only the finest ingredients,” one of which is rice. Rice in beer? Why does Budweiser use rice, you ask? Because rice is a starch and starch is a source of fermentable sugar. A fermentable sugar is necessary in brewing beer because the alcohol is produced by the fermentation of sugar. Malted barley is, and always has been, the most commonly used source of fermentable sugar. But rice is cheaper and can be added to the brewing recipe so that less of the more expensive malted barley is required. Budweiser thus costs less to brew since rice is cheaper than malted barley. Again, it’s money, not taste.
By the way. Did you know that the Budweiser brand of beer can’t be marketed or brewed in Germany. There are two primary reasons. One is because there was already a Czech brand of beer named “Budweiser” trademarked in Germany. The second reason is because of a very old “German Beer Purity Law,” the Reinheitsgebot, which originated in Bavaria in 1516. It states that only water, barley, and hops may be used in the production of beer. The law has been changed slightly over the years to allow a few other ingredients, such as yeast and wheat, but it has never allowed rice to be used as an ingredient.
Something else you may not know is that in 2008 Anheuser-Busch sold the majority of their stock to the Belgian-Brazilian beer giant InBev to create AB InBev, the largest brewing company in the world. AB InBev immediately began introducing cost-cutting measures (so they could make MORE MONEY). Some sources claim that this has negatively affected the flavor of the beer. Rice was already being used in the Budweiser recipe but AB InBev replaced whole rice grains with broken grains (even cheaper). AB InBev also phased out the use of the high quality Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops in place of less expensive ones. According to Bloomberg Business Week Companies & Industries, a former top AB InBev executive has said that the change in hops alone has saved about $55 million a year.
AB InBev has also purchased Bass and Beck’s brands, which are now brewed in the US. Before the AB InBev takeover, Beck’s advertised that it was a German beer brewed with German water, German hops, and German malt. Not anymore. Beck’s drinkers claim that it now tastes bad and sales of it are dropping. Bass sales have have also dropped. As much as 17% since the change. Again, it’s all about the money. You will still pay import prices for these beers even though they are brewed domestically.
AB InBev is now in the process of ruining Stella Artois and Goose Island (once a Chicago microbrewery but now brewed in several different InBev mega-breweries in the US). AB InBev has also acquired about 50% of Mexico’s Grupo Modello, brewers of Corona and Modello and are now attempting to acquire the other 50%. Approval from the U.S. Department of Justice was still pending as of October 2012. AB InBev probably won’t stop until they have purchased and ruined all of our beers.
End of Rant.
About lunchtime we realized that we would get to Chattanooga much earlier than last night’s estimate. The problem was that if we went through Chattanooga we would have to drive further than we wished in order to find an RV park. So, we decided to stop in Cleveland, TN, which is only about 30 miles from Chattanooga. We took the Cleveland exit (Exit 20, I-75) at 3:00PM, filled the tank with diesel, and drove over to a KOA at the same exit. This KOA was almost as empty as the one we stayed in last night. School started this week in both Virginia and Kentucky so there aren’t many RVs out of the roads this week.