Budweiser’s Clydesdale horses made their first appearance as the company’s mascot after the repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933. Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville is a breeding farm for Budweiser’s Clydesdales, resting on more than 300 acres in mid-Missouri. Ranch supervisor John Soto says August Busch, Jr. gave August Busch, Sr. a team of Clydesdales in 1933 as a gift to celebrate the repeal.
“Al Smith, who was the governor of New York at the time, was very instrumental in the repeal of prohibition. So they shipped to New York and presented Al Smith with a case of post-prohibition Budweiser. Then they also went to the White House to FDR and they also gave him a case of Budweiser,” says Soto.
The news compelled the company to make the horses the official mascot.
“The people thought that was great. So then they started going out as the Budweiser Clydesdales and it’s been that way for over 80 years now,” says Soto.
The Clydesdales have been in many Budweiser television commercials, including some that debut each year during the Super Bowl. Soto remembers seeing some Budweiser Clydesdale ads as a young child. He says the only Budweiser commercial that has been filmed at the Warm Springs Ranch was four years ago. Many of the company’s commercials are filmed in California.
More than 26,000 people per year visit Warm Springs Ranch. Soto says the Boonville farm, which includes more than 70 horses, is a worldwide attraction. The Clydesdale babies are a popular stopping point on the tour.
“Along with the babies, you also learn everything about the Budweiser Clydesdales from the hitches to the history of the Clydesdales. You get everything in one tour that you could want to know about the Clydesdales,” says Soto.
November 6 is the last day of tours for the season at the ranch.