Two Anheuser-Busch Family Sagas Optioned For TV

(Courtesy Harper Business & CBS TV Studio)

Two Hollywood studios have optioned separate books on the Busch family with an eye to developing multi-general dramas (think HBO’s Succession with beer) about the dynasty…

According to Deadline, CBS Television Studios has acquired the rights to William Knoedelseder’s Bitter Brew, a New York Times bestselling book about the Busch family, to develop as an epic generational drama series.

Being eyed for cable/streaming services, Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer, chronicles the true story of one of the most colorful (and the author suggests dysfunctional) beer dynasties. A family who over the course of five generations turned a tiny, bankrupt neighborhood brewery into a corporate colossus and in the process attained great wealth and a lifestyle rivaling those of Europe’s most extravagant royals.

The book’s publisher, Harper Collins, calls Bitter Brew, “A cautionary tale of prosperity, hubris, and loss.”

And John Sayles, director of Eight Men Out, said the book “deftly chronicles the contentious succession of kings in a uniquely American dynasty. You’ll never crack open a six again without thinking of this book.”

(Coutesy Simon & Schuster )

And on Wednesday, Deadline reported that 101 Studios, the company behind Paramount’s popular Western drama Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, is developing a drama series “based on Peter Hernon and Terry Ganey’s bestseller Under The Influence: The Unauthorized Story of the Anheuser-Busch Dynasty.”

“To have the opportunity to tell the story of one of America’s most fascinating and influential families is a thrill,” said David Glasser, 101 Studios’ CEO. “Peter Hernon and Terry Ganey’s riveting account of every aspect of Anheuser-Busch and its reigning family will be honored and refined in our overall vision of this phenomenal saga.”

Kirkus Review describes Under The Influence, which was published by Simon & Schuster in 1991, as a “fascinating, outrageous, factual saga of America’s powerful beer barons–the Busch family of St. Louis.”

And an Entertainment Weekly review of the book references “a family with enough skeletons in their closets to fill a cemetery” this way….

 “If it’s scandal and tragedy you’re after, there is plenty of it here. Held together by the gravitational pull of a great fortune, the Busches appear to have endured more than their share of sin and sorrow over the past 120-odd years.”

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