Why is Belgium-owned Budweiser Beer changing its name to America and what does a hot dog have to do with it

You may have heard that Budweiser Beer is changing its name to “America” from May 23 for the duration of the election season. Budweiser is clearly expecting an extra-patriotic Summer with the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics coming up, plus soccer’s Copa America Centenario taking place for the first time on U.S. soil.

Bud’s “America” rebranding doesn’t stop at the name—the packaging will be smothered with All-American phrases including “E Pluribus Unum,” “Liberty and Justice for All” and “Indivisible Since 1776.”

If that wasn’t freedom-loving enough, the ultra-patriotic label will include the words “Land of the Free,” “Home of the Brave” and “From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters this land was made for you and me”.

Yep, according to Budweiser VP Ricardo Marques: “We are embarking on what should be the most patriotic summer that this generation has ever seen”.

This isn’t the first time that food in the United States was renamed in a patriotic spirit, so successfully for some that the original name and reason has been forgotten.

As frankfurter is obviously a very German name, it was deemed unacceptable during World War I. In some places they were called “liberty sausages,” but it was another term that stuck —the hot dog.

And if you’ve ever wondered just what the difference is between Salisbury steak and meat loaf, the answer is World War 1.

Sauerkraut was renamed “liberty cabbage.” Dealers, farmers, and grocers complained of the steep decline in sauerkraut consumption and testified that they needed to give it a name that Americans without German associations. Likewise, Hamburgers became “liberty sausage”. Those rather awkward renamings didn’t catch on after the war.

“French Fries” famously became “Freedom Fries” in 2003 when Republican Bob Ney rejigged the menus in Congress in response to France’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq. The term quietly fell out of use as support declined for the Iraq war.

Budweiser has sold patriotic summer-edition cans for the last five years, so that’s nothing new. Actually renaming the beer “America” is a bold marketing strategy. Maybe this effort will propel Budweiser back into the American top 10 most patriotic brands, from which they’ve slipped since 1913.

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Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.