Billy Busch Targets Bud Drinkers


At opposite ends of the long wooden bar at O'Connell's Pub, two men work the lunchtime crowd — offering smiles, handshakes and free beer.

One is Jim Hoffmeister, a former top executive at Anheuser-Busch Cos. The other is William K. "Billy" Busch, a son of August "Gussie" Busch Jr., the man who turned Budweiser into the nation's dominant beer brand.

Hoffmeister, a near four-decade veteran of A-B, and Billy Busch, a scion who never worked for the company, are doing something that neither has done in a long time: peddling beer door-to-door.

"I hit three places last night," Hoffmeister said, standing near the bar. "It feels good to be back in the beer business."

The business now, though, is selling Kräftig, a new brand that Busch, with the help of Hoffmeister and two other former A-B executives, launched this month under the banner of the William K. Busch Brewing Co.

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