The business world has been saturated like a rug at a keg party with the news of Belgian brewing giant InBev acquiring all-American Anheuser-Busch. While this brings us that much closer to a “Rollerball“ world where society is dominated and run by a few behemoth corporations, the real question lies in what this means to American Bud drinkers, of which The Hangover is one.
Will Bud taste the same as it does now? Yes. Will we still get to watch commercials of Clydesdales playing football in the fall? Yes. Will Bud and Bud Light still be brewed regionally? Likely. Will Bud still be marketed as “The Great American Lager?” Yes, even though it will be owned by Belgians.
But Americans have no reason to fear Belgian ownership. Here’s why: Belgians are great people. Twenty years ago, The Hangover and one of his associates spent a few nights in a Biarritz casino that could have been a James Bond set. Our first evening there we cleaned up playing blackjack, winning hand after hand, hooping and hollering and guzzling beer. While most of the clientele was in suits, we were dressed in jeans and leather jackets; we felt like the Cartwrights cutting loose in Virginia city.
However, on the following night, our luck wasn’t so great. Despite the bartenders having our first round arrive at our table just as we did, we started losing. It got to the point that we were playing hand-to-hand. A few more bad cards and we were done.
An older gentleman was seated next to us. He’d also been at our table the previous evening.
“You guys aren’t doing so great tonight,” he said.
“No, it’s a rough one,” I replied. We lost a hand just as one of the bartenders came over to see if we needed another round. We didn’t have the money.
“Let me buy you guys a beer,” the gentleman said. “You know, you really got everyone all upset last night.”
“We were just having a good time,” my associate said.
“I enjoyed it,” the gentleman said. “Whenever you can piss off these French assholes, go ahead and do it.”
“I take it you’re not French,” I said.
“The hell with that,” he said, smiling. “I’m from Belgium.”
As soon as the beer the Belgian bought us arrived at the table, our luck changed. We went on a winning streak that recouped our losses and then surpassed our winnings of the night before. We owed it all to the kindness of the Belgian spirit.
The Hangover will continue to support and enjoy Budweiser. And when the InBev-Anheuser Busch deal is finalized, The Hangover fully expects his first “Belgian” Budweiser will bring him more than just a buzz.
[Editors note: Rollerball, as a movie, is a good one with compelling characters, action, and suspense. It was filmed in 1975 based on a storyby William Harrison. However, if viewed today, the movie reveals itself to be eerily prescient social commentary. You’d have to be stone drunk on American-Belgian Budweiser to miss the connections between the sci-fi world of the film and the one you actually live in.]