What Is Up With Foxes On Corners Of Anheuser-Busch Brewery

My mother, who was probably a toddler when she was growing up, would drive her parents home from school past Broadway’s Anheuser-Busch brewery complex. My mom would cry to my grandpa every time this happened.

She was not talking about diseases. She was so young she couldn’t pronounce “foxes”. Instead, she was spotting the fox statues at the cornerstone of A.B’s brewery facility. My grandparents quickly learned that it was better for everyone to avoid the Foxes. They would drive a few blocks further to avoid the scary foxes.

Most people don’t find the fox statues at the brewery scary. With their beer steins and mutton shanks, they appear quite easygoing. My mom always asks me why foxes were chosen to build the structure instead of traditional gargoyles every time she tells me about the “poxes”. I set out to find out.

The interesting history of the foxes dates back to Anheuser-Busch’s survival strategy during Prohibition. After alcohol was banned in military service, A-B began to make Bevo in 1916. It increased production to 5 million cases per year by 1919, when Prohibition was introduced. It was so ubiquitous that it became part of popular culture. Irving Berlin even mentioned it in “How Dry I Am” and “How Dry You Are.” The Bevo bottling plant was named after the beer brand.

It was a “near-beer”, so it tasted like beer but did not contain alcohol. Tracy Lauer, Anheuser-Busch’s Archivist, says that this was something that we as a company could help us get through the prohibition period.

Reynard, the Fox was Bevo’s mascot. Reynard (Dutch, Reinert; French: Renard; German: Reineke), is a well-known character in fairy tales and allegorical Dutch, French and German fables. Reynard, unlike other heroes, was clever and witty.

“Reynard in the story was always funny whenever it was around, and knew great places for food and drink. Lauer explains that the fox is often seen on corners holding a drink and food. These fables were first told in the 11th century. They became so popular that Renard was used to replacing the French word for Fox.

Four fox statues were carved in each corner of the building when it was built. Christopher Seale, a well-known sculptor, commissioned the statues.

Lauer says that “publications at the time stated that they had installed these massive blocks of solid granite on each corner… which weighed approximately six tons each.”

Once the granite blocks were placed, Seale carved out the statues. There was no room for error.

Lauer says, “Every time that I drive by and look at the corners, I think about ‘Man! What pressure!'” The statues stand approximately 10 feet high. The foxes are shown drinking and eating from traditional Lederhosen. Eberhard Anheuser, Adolphus Busch, and Adolphus Busch are both from Germany. Although they are well-known, many St. Louisans don’t know much about foxes or poxes. Like the bottling plant, the statues have a rich history. It’s also a great example of how one detail can reveal a whole era of St. Louis’ history. Now that you are familiar with Mr. Reynard, you can send your respects to him when you visit A-B’s campus in the winter to see the holiday lights.

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