JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A state lawmaker wants to give the "King of Beers" its own kingdom by making Budweiser the official beer of Missouri.
Budweiser is a Missouri-based international icon that -- if officially recognized -- might even persuade more people to visit the state, state Rep. Curt Dougherty said Friday.
"We've got a state dinosaur, a state frog, a state reptile, a state flower, a state nut, but no one has given a thought to a company that's been in Missouri for many, many years and is bringing prosperity to our state and manufacturing a product in our state that many people enjoy," Dougherty said.
Dougherty's bill was introduced last week but has not been referred to a House committee.
Budweiser has been made by St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Inc. since 1876. It's now produced in 12 regional breweries, though samples are flown daily to St. Louis for taste-testing.
The brand is already the "Official International Beer" sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and will be the "Official Beer" of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Plus, it's an official sponsor for 26 professional baseball teams and 28 football teams.
In a statement released Friday, an executive for Anheuser-Busch said the legislation was "flattering" but not requested.
Missouri has 24 official symbols, most of which have been approved over the past 20 years. Lawmakers added four last year -- the game bird (bobwhite quail), invertebrate (crayfish), reptile (turtle) and grass (big bluestem).
But when it comes to state-sanctioned drinks, Missouri is behind the times. So far, 27 states have given official designation to their favorite beverages. Most have opted for one that is less intoxicating and builds strong bones -- milk.
Besides milk, states have picked orange juice, cranberry juice, tomato juice, water, Kool-Aid, coffee milk, South Carolina Grown Tea and the soft drink Moxie.
But Missourians would not be alone in excusing alcohol runs as evidence of civic pride. Alabama in 2004 made Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey that state's official spirit.