Beer Man

The five most memorable Budweiser Clydesdale commercials; the horses are leaving Fort Collins

The Budweiser brewery in Fort Collins announced yesterday that it is moving its Clydesdale training program from the northern Colorado town to a farm in Merrimack, New Hampshire, where it will also start a hitch-driving school.

The famous horses -- which are a big part of Bud's Fort Collins brewery tour -- became one of the company's trademarks in 1933 when brothers August A. Busch Jr. and Adolphus Busch gave them to their father to celebrate the end of Prohibition. The Clydesdales now serve as a major marketing and advertising tool.

Anheuser Busch gave almost no specifics on the reasons for the move beyond this statement: "To further develop our expert Clydesdale personnel and improve the logistical support behind our extensive traveling Clydesdale program, we are transitioning some of our local Clydesdale operations."

But Fort Collins will get a consolation prize. A team of six Clydesdales will be relocated from Missouri to Fort Collins to serve as the western region's promotional horses, going to events like one that took place at Applejack Wine & Spirits on August 18, at which customers were invited to hang out, take photos and, oh, buy discounted Bud products.

An Anheuser Busch spokesman didn't respond to our questions as to whether any of Bud's famous Clydesdale commercials were shot in Fort Collins, or whether any of the horses that were trained there had acted in those spots.

For the record, here are our five most memorable Clydesdale commercials:

5. The little donkey that could Maybe it's because I was drinking too much beer, but I love that donkey, man. Like many of Budweiser's Clydesdale commercials, this one aired first during a Super Bowl -- in this case, the 2004 edition. It was overshadowed, however, by Janet Jackson's magical wardrobe malfunction.

4. Kneeling at Ground Zero Aired only once, during the January 2002 Super Bowl, this commercial was produced to honor our country after 9/11. But is it a tear-jerking tribute or a cheap ploy framed as heartfelt patriotism? You be the judge.

3. A Dalmatian channels Mickey Goldmill This ad from 2008 has Dalmatians, an inspirational story, beer and the theme from Rocky. What's not to like? 2. An amazing jingle First aired in 1967, this commercial was the first featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales -- and it is still one of the best. The jingle has stayed in my head for decades: "Here comes the King, here comes the Big Number One." The commercial still plays for fans at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, who after several Buds, clap like puppets in time with the song.

1. The Extra Point "Nah, they usually go for two." This 1996 spot was Bud's first Super Bowl commercial featuring the Clydesdales, and remains the most memorable. It's featured on many lists of the best Super Bowl commercials ever made.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes