Good thing for Dick Bridges that he states without a doubt the taste of Budweiser won't change.
The owner of the local Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship -- Budweiser is its flagship brand, its Colossus of Rhodes, its Cycloptic eye -- might have had a mutiny on his hands.
"Bud in the can," said Larry Shively, barside at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2889 on Monday. He sipped from the ice-cold can. "As long as they don't change it, Bud in the can it was, is and will be."
Shively's words sound sermonesque because South Carolinians love their Anheuser-Busch products. Almost two-thirds of all beer sold -- opened with that hiss, sipped and chugged in South Carolina -- is made by the company.
It's the same company that announced, only hours before I arrived barside at the VFW on Monday, that a Belgian company had bought the beer giant after weeks of talks.
The Yalta conference that discussed how post-World War II Europe would look did not have such import.
Belgians have a monarch, eat funny food and talk funny, surely. They have Belgian waffles, and that's it, right? Brussels, Belgium. Named for the sprouts? No, that cannot be allowed! Beer from Belgium? What is next, barbecue from Belarus?
I desperately called Bridges, whose family has slaked thirsts for York County and surrounding counties at B&B Distributors in Rock Hill for 49 years. Bridges made it clear the buyout means nothing for his 65 employees, his fleet of beer trucks and the bars, convenience stores and grocery stores that buy his products.
"The beer will go out," Bridges said.
Churchill and Roosevelt never said more important words.
But most importantly, Belgian ownership means nothing to those who make Budweiser in beer what Coke is to soft drinks, Chevys and Fords are to cars and Marlboro is to cigarettes. The beer still will be brewed right here in the U.S.A.
"The taste won't change," Bridges said. "They are buying the brands, the recipes, the taste. They would be stupid to change that. The public will not notice a difference at all. They are not going to change the beer!"
Anheuser-Busch -- and the Bud brand specifically -- is "The King of Beers" because it is. Half the U.S. market is King Budweiser and its castoffs, spinoffs, dukes, earls and princes.
Bud Light. Natural Light. Michelob, with its royal family of Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra. Busch and Busch Light -- which anyone who has attended a NASCAR race knows -- come in cases called "suitcases." Easy for carrying. Fits both hands equally well.
At the VFW, the talk of beer was the talk of life-giving nectar. Beer is the wine of the blue-collar man in America. The bartender said at least 75 percent of beer sold at the VFW is Anheuser-Busch products.
At the corner sat Bill Jordan, nursing a Miller High Life. A can, golden in the luscious darkness that is a daytime barroom. I, too, love Miller High Life. I also love daytime barrooms. I settled into my stool. Miller is the big competition for Bud, along with Coors.
"Wouldn't drink a Budweiser if you give it to me," said Jordan. "But mess with Budweiser -- even mess with the can it comes in -- you have problems. Bud drinkers love it, so they better not change it."
He sat next to Shively, whose can of Bud, the signature red and white can, reflected the gorgeousness of the beer lights that said in neon penumbra: "Budweiser." It sat on a Budweiser coaster after sipping.
"Ahhh," he said in a sentence that needed no verbs.
Further down was Dan Good, sipping a Miller Lite longneck bottle.
"I don't drink Budweiser, but it is huge, part of the culture," Good said. "What happened when Dale Earnhardt Jr. left the Budweiser car? Do you ever hear anybody rooting for Mountain Dew or anything else?"
Next to him, Glenn Pettus held court. He is Budweiser judge, jury, prosecutor and defendant, all rolled into one.
"I went to Bud Light some time back because it's not as filling, but I drink Natural Light, too," Pettus said. "Michelob, that's a high-test kind of Budweiser. Good drinkin' beer, that is."
"You can't tell the difference," said Jordan, the Miller drinker.
"The difference is it is a Budweiser product, so I drink it," Pettus said. "Tell me I don't know? I know."
In the door strode Kenny Landers.
"What you up to, Kenny?" came the chorus.
"'Bout 6-1," Landers stated.
He slid onto an empty seat. Like magic from the barkeep appeared a Budweiser can from the bar cooler. Landers had not said a word to her. He did not order anything. But when you drink Bud, people know. It is a part of you.
"More than 20 years, Budweiser, cans," Landers said.
I asked why he likes Budweiser in the can, why Budweiser period.
And Landers told me the words that make Budweiser the King and keep Dick Bridges the distributor smiling: "Because I like it," Landers said. "Get us all another one."