Special Report

Ten Classic American Brands That Are Foreign-Owned

1. Lucky Strike
> Founding date: 1871
> Sector: Tobacco
> Current parent company: British American Tobacco PLC
> Currently headquartered: England

The Lucky Strike Cigarettes company was founded in Virginia in 1871. At the turn of the century, American Tobacco Company acquired the brand. The North Carolina-based company was one of the first to implement cigarette-manufacturing machines. During their heyday, through the first half of the 20th century, Lucky Strike was one of the top-selling tobacco brands, and was the number one cigarette in the country by the 1930’s. While sales have fallen since then, the brand has seen a modest resurgence lately due in part to the use of the cigarettes in the popular show Mad Men. In 1994, U.K.-based British American Tobacco PLC acquired the American Tobacco Company and all its subsidiaries.

2. Budweiser
> Founding date: 1852
> Sector: Beverages
> Current parent company: Anheuser-Busch Inbev
> Currently headquartered: Belgium

Iconic American lager Budweiser was developed in 1876 by Adolphus Busch — son-in-law of German immigrant Eberhard Anheuser — and his friend Carl Conrad. It was the first American brewery to use pasteurization, allowing the company to ship the beer over large distances and reach a wider audience. Over the years, Budweiser became America’s best-selling beer prompting the company to adopt the slogan: “The King of Beers.” In 2008, despite concerns among the Busch family that American jobs would be lost, Brazilian-Belgian company InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. for roughly $52 billion. Budweiser remains the top-selling beer brand in the U.S., with 2012 Bud Light sales close to $6 billion in 2012, more than any other brand, according to market research firm SymphonyIRI Group. With craft beers growing at a faster rate than name-brands like Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch InBev has attempted to compete by introducing a variety of Budweiser with more alcohol and new packaging such as Bud Light Platinum and Black Crown early this year.

ALSO READ: Iconic Brands That Just Vanished

3. Vaseline
> Founding date: 1876
> Sector: Skin Products
> Current parent company: Unilever
> Currently headquartered: England

Brooklyn chemist Robert A. Chesebrough developed petroleum jelly in 1870 from what was then considered a waste product from oil drilling. The substance can be used to treat injuries such as burns, cuts, and diaper rash. Chesebrough began marketing it as Vaseline in 1870, and it wasn’t long before the brand became the most popular petroleum jelly product nationwide. By the early 20th century Chesebrough Manufacturing Company was selling and manufacturing its product internationally. Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company Unilever acquired Vaseline in 1987.

4. Good Humor
> Founding date: 1923
> Category: Ice cream
> Current parent company: Unilever
> Currently headquartered: England

In 1923, Harry B. Burt of Youngstown, Ohio, patented his new method of making frozen confections — freezing ice cream bars to wooden handles and coating them in a hard chocolate layer. According to Burt, the value of the new process was in its sanitation and cleanliness. Instead of opening a store to sell his new Good Humor bars, Burt organized a fleet of ice-cream trucks with bells and carefully trained white-clad salesmen. When its founder died in 1926, the company went public and successfully expanded across much of the U.S. Unilever subsidiary Lipton purchased Good Humor in 1961.

ALSO READ: Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2014

5. Hellmann’s
> Founding date: 1913
> Sector: Condiments
> Current parent company: Unilever
> Currently headquartered: England

Capitalizing on his wife’s popular mayonnaise recipe, German immigrant Richard Hellmann founded Hellmann’s delicatessen over 100 years ago in New York City. In 1932, West Coast mayonnaise competitor Best Foods acquired Hellmann’s. By that time, Hellmann’s was flourishing and had already expanded across much of the East Coast, introducing new condiments including its Tartar Sauce and Sandwich Spread, a combination of relish and mayonnaise. In 2000, Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company Unilever acquired Best Foods and its subsidiaries. The company claims Best Food and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, which are sold on the West and East coasts respectively, are identical products.