Adolphus Busch (1839 - 1913)
Adolphus Busch was a German immigrant who was instrumental in building the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association in St. Louis, Missouri, into the largest brewery in the United States. He is recognized as one of the most successful businessmen of his era, and is memorable for both his extravagant spending habits and his charitable giving.
Early Life & Education
“The best advice I can give a young man just starting in business life is to work faithfully and loyally and with untiring energy for his employer—to give his employer double what he is paid for.” Adolphus Busch
Adolphus Busch was born on July 10, 1839, in Mainz, Germany. He was the twenty-first child born to Ulrich Busch, a successful businessman from Mainz, and the fourteenth with his second wife, Barbara Pfeifer Busch. They provided Adolphus with a first-rate education. He went to the gymnasium in the city of Mainz and the academy at Darmstadt. After this, he studied French at the Collegiate Institute of Brussels, one of the best colleges in Belgium.
Adolphus worked at his father’s lumber yard for a short time, and then went to work for a shipping house in Cologne, a port on the Rhine River in western Germany, where he learned a lot about the river trade. Busch moved to St. Louis in 1857 after hearing many tales about greater business opportunities in America. He was able to put his knowledge of river trading to good use as a clerk in a shipping house. Although he started off cleaning windows and sweeping floors, his hard work and intelligence were noted. He was soon a familiar face along the row of merchant houses on the riverbank known as “Commission Row,” hunting bargains and judging the quality of the merchandise that arrived in the city. He was especially skilled at judging brewing supplies, like hops, malt, and barley, a skill that would come in handy later as a brewer. After his father died, Adolphus inherited a sizeable amount of money from his father’s estate which allowed him to partner with a local merchant to start a trading business, Wattenburg, Busch & Co., in 1859.