Busch vs Budweiser: Comparing Iconic American Brews

Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Lydia Martin

When it comes to enjoying a crisp, cold beer on a hot day or kicking back with friends after a long week, few things hit the spot quite like a good brew.

Two names that have been synonymous with beer in America for generations are Busch and Budweiser. But I once wondered, “which brewed drink is better?”

So, I did a comparison test to determine the best bet, and here’s what I’ll share with you in this Busch vs Budweiser showdown.

Which is Better, Busch or Budweiser Brand?

Busch and Budweiser on a Table

Both Budweiser and Busch beers came from a single company, but this does not mean they are similar beers.

Busch is a quintessential American lager that was first introduced in 1955 by Anheuser-Busch InBev, one of the largest brewing companies in the US and the parent company of Bud Light.

This beer has a pleasant smell with a smooth and delicate taste, which I find ideal for those who prefer a light beer flavor.

Also, this beer typically boasts a lower alcohol content, is easy on the calorie count, and is brewed with high-quality ingredients.

On the other hand, Budweiser is one of the most iconic American beer brands. It’s often referred to as the “King of Beers” and “Bud,” and has been enjoyed by beer enthusiasts since 1876.

“Sip the bold tradition of Budweiser, a timeless classic in the world of American lagers.” – Liquor Laboratory

Budweiser exudes distinct flavor, slightly higher alcohol content, and a rich history that has made it a symbol of American brewing tradition.

It’s brewed using a combination of malt barley, rice, premium hops, and water, resulting in a unique beer that many beer drinkers like us adore.

Read: Budweiser vs Bud Light

Cheat Sheet on Budweiser vs Busch (Table)

Criteria Busch Budweiser
Type American Lager American Lager
Alcohol Content Typically around 4.3% ABV Typically around 5% ABV
Calories (per 12 oz.) Approximately 133 calories Approximately 145 calories
Ingredients Water, barley malt, corn, rice Water, barley malt, rice, hops
Popular Variants Busch Light, Busch Ice  Bud Light, Budweiser Select
Brewery Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch
Packaging Cans, bottles, and kegs Cans, bottles, and kegs
Marketing Emphasizes a “crisp and refreshing” taste Known for its iconic Clydesdales and “King of Beers” slogan
Notable Features Known for its affordability Recognizable red label and iconic bottle shape
Star Rating ★★★★☆ ★★★★★

Main Differences

Key Ingredients

Man Holding Can of Busch Beer

The Busch brand primarily uses malted barley, corn, and rice in its brewing process, resulting in a light flavor profile.

In contrast, Budweiser beers incorporate barley malt, rice, and hops in the brewing process, imparting a distinct and slightly bolder taste and aroma. So what kind of beer is Budweiser?

Character and Style

Busch is known for its mild, easy-drinking style, which I will recommend for those seeking a lighter and crisp beer, alongside the light lager, Bud Light.

In comparison, the Budweiser beer brand exudes a more robust character, which appeals to those who prefer a more decadent, fuller-bodied beer. But how tall is a Budweiser bottle?

Flavor Profile


Busch beer gives a clean, crisp mouthfeel with a hint of sweetness (similar to Bud Light), while Budweiser has a smoother, slightly heavier texture, providing a more substantial beer-drinking experience.


Busch presents a faint aroma of malt and corn, whereas Budweiser boasts a more pronounced smell with notes of hops and barley.


In terms of appearance, both the two beers typically exhibit a pale, golden color. However, I noticed that Budweiser appears slightly darker since it uses more malt in the brewing process.


Budweiser boasts an ABV of 5%, aligning with the typical ABV of many domestic lagers. In contrast, Busch features a notably lower ABV of 4.3%.

This low ABV may be connected to Busch’s branding as the preferred choice for sports enthusiasts and outdoor aficionados.


Budweiser is the most popular beer compared to the Busch beer [1], thanks to its long-established presence and successful marketing campaigns.

However, the latter has garnered a loyal following for its affordability and easy-drinking nature.

Brewing Process & Ingredients

While both Budweiser and Busch are Anheuser-Busch brews, their unique blend combinations and brewing process set them apart, providing different tastes and aromas.

Busch beer lager is focused more on corn and rice, which contributes to its lighter flavor, while Budweiser’s use of barley malt and hops gives it a distinctive flavor.

I find Budweiser more meticulously crafted, which involves seven discrete methods in its process:

  1. Milling
  2. Mashing
  3. Straining
  4. Brew kettle
  5. Primary fermentation
  6. Beechwood lagering
  7. Finishing

Despite the difference, both Budweiser and Busch use the bottom-fermenting process. This means the yeast used in each blend sinks to the bottom instead of floating to the top.

Brand Image

Budweiser Beer

All drinkers would agree – Budweiser beers have a well-established market and brand image, with the title of “King of Beers.” And in some parts of the world, Budweiser is referred to as “Bud.”

Budweiser ads usually appear around Super Bowl and football events within the US.

On the other hand, Busch is more down-to-earth and appeals to those seeking a budget-friendly option. While Budweiser dominates the football field, Busch is in demand in baseball events.

Busch is primarily marketed as a refreshing drink tailored to American outdoor drinkers.

Additionally, Busch sponsors Ducks Unlimited [2], a nonprofit organization dedicated to wetlands conservation, and the National Forest Foundation, the nonprofit division of the US Forest Service.

Quick Fact: August Anheuser “Gussie” Busch, then CEO of Anheuser-Busch Brewing, named a park for his family Busch Stadium. 

Nutritional Information

Whenever I’m watching my calories and carbs intake, I usually opt for Busch beers since they contain fewer calories (133kcal) per 12 ounces than Budweiser (145kcal) in the same volume.

But as you can see, the difference is relatively minor (but I believe a small change can make a big difference, LOL!)

Best For

The Busch Lager brand is an excellent choice for casual gatherings, outdoor activities, and when you’re in the mood for something mild and refreshing.

“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” – Dave Barry, American Writer and Columnist

Budweiser is better suited for those moments when you want to savor a full-flavored beer, perhaps while enjoying a hearty meal.

Price & Value

Busch is more budget-friendly, which makes it an attractive option if you want to maximize your beer-buying power. Budweiser, while slightly pricier, provides a more premium experience.


Which beer came first, Busch or Budweiser?

Budweiser came first before Busch beers. Budweiser was first introduced in 1876 [3] by Adolphus Busch, while the latter made its debut in 1955.

Why is Busch beer so popular?

Busch’s popularity can be attributed to its affordability, light and crisp flavor, and the fact that it’s been a favorite choice for budget-conscious drinkers for decades. But both Budweiser and Busch are popular beers.

Are Busch and Budweiser beer the same company?

Yes, both Busch and Budweiser are products of AB InBev [4], one of the largest brewing companies in the United States. However, they are distinct beers with a different brewing process, recipe, and target audience.

On A Final Note

Both Budweiser and Busch are drinkable, giving a pleasant smell and smooth flavor, but the winner ultimately lies in your personal taste and style.

If you ask which is the best, I would prefer Budweiser since I’m after a more robust and iconic experience. Besides, Budweiser has a rich history, smooth yet bold flavor, and enduring popularity.

But if you’re searching for a wallet-friendly, smooth, more drinkable beer for a casual hangout, a glass of Busch may be your go-to choice.

If you’re after a light smell, flavor, and experience, go for Busch beers or any light lager.



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

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