Budweiser Clydesdales returning to celebrate Ludington Sesquicentennial, Ludington Beverage’s 90th anniversary 

June 2, 2023

The Clydesdales during their 2012 visit to Ludington. Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography.

Budweiser Clydesdales returning to celebrate Ludington Sesquicentennial, Ludington Beverage’s 90th anniversary

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

LUDINGTON — The Budweiser Clydesdales are returning to Ludington and Manistee from Thursday, June 8 through Sunday, June 11. The visit is being presented by Ludington Beverage Co., in celebration of the fourth generation company’s 90th year in business, and also in celebration of Ludington’s sesquicentennial.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, June 8, 5 to 7 p.m., Manistee First Street Beach
  • Friday, June 9, 5 to 7 p.m., Love Ludington Street Party, downtown Ludington
  • Saturday, June 10, 5 to 7 p.m., parade from Loomis Street Boat Launch through Stearns Park
  • Sunday, June 11, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mason County Fairgrounds, public stable showing
  • Monday, June 12, 9 a.m., departure onboard S.S. Badger

 

The Clydesdales during the 1987 Scottville Harvest Festival parade. Photo from the Mason County Historical Society Scottville Clown Band Collection.

“The Budweiser Clydesdales represent a piece of Americana. They continue to represent the high quality, traditions and craftsmanship of Budweiser as America emerged from Prohibition,,” said Tad Reed, co-owner (along with Rick Tyndall and Milan “Budde” Reed II) of Ludington Beverage Co. “Ludington Beverage has a special connection with the Clydesdales because the first Clydesdales team was started the same year as our little company, in 1933.”
The original Budweiser Clydesdales were purchased from Patrick Shea, owner of Shea’s Brewery in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who had used them to promote his brewery. The team was rebranded by Budweiser and first introduced to the United States in 1933 to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. August A. Busch, Jr. presented the hitch as a gift to his father, August Anheuser Busch, Sr., who was guided outside the brewery in St. Louis, Mo., as a ruse of being told his son had purchased him a new car, but instead was greeted by the horses, pulling a red, white, and gold beer wagon. The hitch carried the first case of post-Prohibition beer from the St. Louis brewery.

Ludington Beverage is currently in its fourth generation. It was started in 1933 by Leo “Peck” and Vera Reed. In 1937 it started distributing Budweiser beer. Their son, Milan “Bud” and his wife, Dorothy “Dottie”, then became involved with the business in the late ‘40s. Their son, Budde, operated the business, alongside Bud and Dottie, for several years before taking the reins and ownership in the mid-90s. Budde began the transition to the next generation in 2012, with Tad arriving fresh from active Army duty in 2016 Milan passed away on March 8, 2016 at the age of 91. Dorothy passed away on Jan. 7, 2019 at the age of 92.

“Ludington Beverage is a family business, which extends beyond the Reed family,” Tad Reed said. “We are proud to have the reputation of treating our employees — our team — as members of our family. We are additionally proud to support the communities that we serve. There aren’t many companies still around this area that go back four generations, 90 years. Additionally, it’s important for us to celebrate that this special anniversary coincides with the 150th anniversary of the City of Ludington.”

 

This will be the fifth time the Clydesdales have visited the area. The first time was in September 1986 to celebrate the Scottville Harvest Festival, coinciding with the festival’s 50th anniversary. Unfortunately, several days of rains caused major flooding throughout the region, causing the appearance to be cancelled.

“The people in St. Louis said they had never seen anything like it,” Budde Reed, said. “The business community organized a postcard writing campaign by the local school children.” The team came back to participate in the 1987 Harvest Festival.

The horses returned in December 2004 participating in the Manistee Victorian Sleighbell and Ludington Christmas parades. The last visit of the Clydesdales was in 2012, to celebrate Ludington Beverage’s 75th anniversary as a Budweiser beer distributor. The team visited Pentwater, Ludington and Manistee.

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