ST. LOUIS – Raise your glass, April 7 is National Beer Day!
On April 7, 1933, eighty-four years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act allowing Americans to legally buy beer for the first time in 13 years, ending prohibition.
On the same day, 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.
So, we did a little digging, and found some interesting information about the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
A VIEW FROM THE TOP: Deliver beer with the Budweiser Clydesdales
According to Anheuser-Busch, Clydesdales were first introduced to Budweiser in 1933 when August A. Busch Sr.'s children gifted him six of them to celebrate the end of Prohibition.
A second set of horses was sent to New York City in April of that year to mark Prohibition's repeal. The Clydesdales were such a hit with fans they were sent on a tour of New England and even stopped to meet President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In order to be selected as part of an Anheuser-Busch hitch, the Clydesdale must meet four qualifications:
- Must be at least 4-years-old
- Must stand at least 6 feet tall from ground to shoulder
- Must weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds
- Must have a bay coat, four white legs, white blaze, black mane, and black tail
Additional facts can be found on the official Clydesdale blog.
HOW DO THE BUDWEISER CLYDESDALES GET THEIR NAMES?
When new foals are born, the first order of business is their naming. According to John Soto, a supervisor at Warm Springs Ranch, the name usually starts with the first letter of the mother's name. In the case of the recently born Budweiser Clydesdale Jake, his mother is named Jane. With the first letter determined, the Budweiser Clydesdale handlers try to think of something clever or memorable for the horse or they utilize an major event going on at the time. In the case of Arizona, she was born on Super Bowl Sunday, which was played in Arizona.
A traditional Dalmatian was added to the team in 1950 to mark the opening of A-B's brewery in Newark. Dalmatians have a long history of being horse-friendly, and were originally used by horse-drawn fire brigades because they were good at guarding the animals while firefighters were doing their duty, and were quick enough to run alongside them as they responded to emergencies.
Now there are three Dalmatians assigned to each of the three Clydesdale hitches; in St. Louis we have Clyde, on the East Coast they have Brewer, and on the West Coast its Chip. All three sit loyally next to the driver of the wagon.
WARM SPRINGS RANCH
Last month 5 On Your Side met up with the Budweiser Clydesdales and John Soto, their "midwife" at the 340-acre Warm Springs Ranch. During our visit, Soto named a two-day-old Budweiser Clydesdale Jake! The facility opened for tours in 2009, and offers visitors a chance to see the exam area, lab, and breeding room.
On Super Bowl Sunday in 2015 the ranch was blessed with the birth of a member of the Budweiser Clydesdale family, a foal named Arizona. Officials at Warm Springs say she was born just minutes before Budweiser's "Lost Dog" commercial aired.
Warm Springs Ranch will open for 90-minute tours in March, and at the end, guests over age 21 are offered a sample of Budweiser beer.
HOW DO THE BUDWEISER CLYDESDALES HANDLE THE COLD?
When the Budweiser Clydesdales were brought to Missouri from California, there was a bit of curiosity on how they would handle the cold and winter months. But, being a cold-blooded breed originating from Scotland, they "took to it like a duck to water," Soto said.
So where do the Budweiser Clydesdales go when the temperature drops like it has this winter? There are 10 pastures at Warm Springs Ranch, each with customized walk-in shelter. The shelters are full of hay that the Budweiser Clydesdales use to stay warm when the temperatures are dangerously cold. But, according to Soto, the Budweiser Clydesdales mostly use the shelters as a wind block during windy days.
Soto says he's seen the Budweiser Clydesdales out playing on even the coldest and snowiest of days and doesn't worry about the older Budweiser Clydesdales on cold nights. However, the younger foals, like newborn Arizona, are a different story. When the temperatures drop, the staff at Warm Springs Ranch will bring the foals in when it's going to be a cold night.
Anheuser-Busch has been known to tweet out photos of Clydesdales occasionally, so you might want to follow them on Twitter @AnheuserBusch. And be sure to follow the horses on tumblr. They post plenty of adorable and funny photos and GIFs of the majestic creatures.
You can also stay up-to-date with the Budweiser Clydesdales and their newest foals by following Warm Springs Ranch on Facebook.
A-B also has an entire blog dedicated to the Budweiser Clydesdales' grooming habits, general care, and public appearances. It's filled with photos of the horses throughout the years.
Still can't get enough? You can meet the Budweiser Clydesdales by visiting them during one of the appearances listed on their website.
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