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A Beer Story You Can't Pass Up

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A Beer Story You Can't Pass Up

A Beer Story You Can't Pass Up

A Beer Story You Can't Pass Up

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  • Transcript

Media people get lots of stuff from companies seeking publicity. Much goes unread, tossed or deleted. NPR's Noah Adams got a box containing a 6-pack of Budweiser bottles. The beer company was seeking a story on the repeal of prohibition. Budweiser got its wish, but the beer wasn't the hook.

SUSAN STAMBERG, host:

Around the newsroom a practical rule is don't eat anything that comes in the mail. Of course we do if the cookies look especially tasty. But NPR's Noah Adams found a box waiting at his desk - a big box - and that presented a different dilemma, which he explores in this reporter's notebook.

NOAH ADAMS: It was a six-pack of beer - Budweiser bottles - and they sent along a story idea about the lifting of prohibition. That was back in the spring of 1933. Now, why me for Budweiser? Well, I must be kind of an in-house hero for Anheuser-Busch, because two summers ago I did a fun story about ten-ounce Budweiser cans - ten ounce, not twelve - historically the best-selling beer in St. Mary's County, Maryland, and available practically nowhere else.

Mr. JIM CULLESON(ph) (Resident, St. Mary's County, Maryland): Like, when we go away, I'll load the motor home six, seven cases to take with me because when I run out of ten ounce, I don't drink anymore. I just, I'm done.

ADAMS: That's Jim Culleson of St. Mary's County. Anyway, Budweiser loved that and now they send me this beer. It's packed inside what's called a retro Anheuser-Busch wooden crate.

(Soundbite of banging)

ADAMS: My first thought is I should probably send this back to Budweiser. So I take it down to Russ Walker in the NPR mailroom.

Mr. RUSS WALKER (NPR Mailroom): This is approximately 21 pounds even. This will cost you $9.91…

ADAMS: To send it back?

Mr. WALKER: Yes, to send it back UPS ground.

ADAMS: I don't really want to be spending NPR's money to send it back, but something far more tempting for radio people came in the box as well - a CD with scratchy audio. We love it, especially anniversary audio. This is from CBS in 1933, April 6. It is just before midnight in St. Louis. Prohibition on the selling of beer is about to be lifted. August A. Busch, Jr. is at the microphone.

Mr. AUGUST A. BUSCH, JR. (Late Founder, Budweiser): May I add just a word about good wholesome beer, which contributes so much to good cheer, good health and good temper(ph). It's a great pleasure to have released the first case of beer bottled in our plant in nearly 14 years. Good night and good luck.

ADAMS: Red trucks full of beer were ready to go to the airport. A railroad train was set to pull out.

(Soundbite of train horn)

ADAMS: So, here 75 years later imagine the publicity folks at Budweiser, high-fiving each other. They got the story on the radio, but only because they sent us radio. The beer - I'll just leave it on the table here at WEEKEND EDITION Saturday.

STAMBERG: NPR's Noah Adams.

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