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Budweiser Celebrates the End to Prohibition

The Budweiser Clydesdales refers to teams of Clydesdale horses used to pull restored turn-of-the-century beer wagons for Budweiser.

They first appeared in 1933, given as a gift to the brewery’s CEO from his son to celebrate the repeal of prohibition.

The horses were hitched to wagons and sent to New York, where they delivered a case of Budweiser to former Governor Alfred Smith, who had been instrumental in fighting prohibition. They proceeded on a tour witnessed by thousands, and delivered another crate of beer to President Roosevelt.

Original Budweiser Clydesdale Six-Horse Hitch and Beer Wagon, in front of the St. Louis Brewery in 1933. Photo: Manes and Tails Harness Club

In 1986, there began a tradition of featuring the Clydesdales during advertisements at the Super Bowl.

Similarly, from 1954 to 2011 the horses have pulled floats in the St. Louis Tournament of Roses Parade, returning to pull their own beer wagon in 2014.

Such events aptly demonstrate the effect of using the horses. While beer trucks and related advertising are an expected feature at parades and sporting events, a horse-drawn beer wagon is considerably more unusual and thus likely to stick in people’s minds.

Indeed, after the brewery announced that the horses would not be appearing in ads during the 2010 Super Bowl, fans voted on Facebook in such force that the brewery reversed their position.

Wholesome Holiday Marketing

The Budweiser Clydesdale holiday ads in particular are heavily shared across social media. It’s an ad that connect with all audiences, tugs at the heartstrings and stays away from controversy.

– Krista Fabregas, Editor, Ecommerce & Retail, FitSmallBusiness

Holiday Marketing Takeaway

Although far from a surefire success, consider appealing to large audiences with the use of live animals in your campaign.

Photo: Anheuser-Busch

Kunle Campbell avatar

Kunle is a trusted advisor to ambitious, agile ecommerce brands. His core strengths lies in growing revenue by developing and executing scalable customer acquisition and search marketing strategies for online retailers.  He blogs, runs webinars and teach courses about ecommerce growth on He also hosts an ecommerce podcast dedicated to growing and scaling online retail businesses.