The surprising ingredient Budweiser and baseball have in common


Few things in this world are as synonymous as beer and baseball.

On a warm summer day, there's nothing more picturesque than watching a ballgame with a cold, refreshing brew in your hand. The drink and sport are a perfect pair -- but there's a surprising link between them that you may not have realized.

And George Springer, right fielder and 2017 World Series MVP for the Houston Astros, has helped to take the relationship between beer and baseball to an entirely new level.

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When your team faces the defending champion Astros this season, take a look at the bats in Springer's hands and you'll notice they have a different shape than the round-handled hardware other players use. Springer utilizes Axe bats, which have a slightly different handle shape than the bats many are used to.

(Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Budweiser)

"I've always held my bat awkwardly," Springer said. "The Axe bat actually fit right into how I hold the bat. For me, it helps me stay flatter, which is ideal for trying to hit the bottom of the ball."

"It felt good. I liked it. I've stuck with it since August of 2016 when Mookie Betts actually left me a bat in Baltimore. I haven't gone back."

The unique shape isn't all that makes the World Series MVP's bats special. Springer partnered with Axe bats to create a line of hardware made from beechwood, a material many Americans are unknowingly intimately familiar with.

Take a look at the star outfielder's career:

In addition to being the main ingredient in Springer's bats, beechwood plays a major role in the brewing of Budweiser, a ballpark staple and longtime partner of the MLB.

"Nothing goes together better than Budweiser and baseball," Ricardo Marques, the company's Vice President of Marketing, said.

"Just in time for Opening Day, we created a limited run of custom Axe bats made of beechwood -- an integral part of the Budweiser brewing process -- to celebrate the upcoming season of America’s favorite pastime with America’s No. 1 classic lager."

Even though Beechwood is an integral ingredient to the Budweiser you know and love, you don't actually taste it when you drink the beer. The wood chips are added during the maturation stage of brewing as a place for yeast to land and rest.

"Yeast is like us," Craig Tomeo, Senior General Manager of Budweiser's Jacksonville Brewery, said of the process. "Some of us want to chill, some of us want to party."

See inside Budweiser's brewery in Jacksonville, Fla.:

Beechwood was officially approved to be used in MLB bats in 2014, and has only grown in popularity since then. Experts say beechwood is a hard, flexible and balanced wood with an elastic memory. Those factors lead to better exit speeds and increased distance -- especially when paired with the powerful swing of a World Series MVP.

Related: See MLB players currently using Axe bats: