ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch lit up the “Flying Eagle” sign on I-64 near Grand Avenue Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m., after more than a year out of service. The sign has been in St. Louis since 1962, and the brewer recently restored the landmark.

“It gave a sense of pride and cultural pride for St. Louis,” said Virgil Rowell, a St. Louis resident.

After decades of wear and tear and a pandemic delaying supplies to fix it, local workers updated the 60-year-old, 32-foot-high eagle with new LED lights. The renovation took over a year to complete. Local builders, craftsmen, dedicated A-B teams, government liaisons, real estate experts, and more were on the team. They helped to ensure the sign will continue to shine brightly for years to come.

It reignited childhood memories and letting everyone know the St. Louis brand is still standing strong.

“When I was a little girl, I would look forward to when I went to my dad’s every weekend, we passed by 40 and every time he would say ‘There’s the bird, there’s the bird Porscha,'” said Porscha Anderson. “So, that become a staple for me in my life growing up.”

The Flying Eagle’s neon bulbs have been replaced with LED lights. There is also a new LED board to show the American flag. This will help keep the sign operating for decades.

A brief history of the sign

The sign was built in 1953 by Artkraft-Strauss in New York. The sign was originally installed on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. It was moved to its current home in St. Louis in 1962.

The eagle part of the sign was designed by animator Bryon Rabbit. He studied the flight motion of an eagle for his schematic drawings. The iconic “A&Eagle” measures 25 feet by 33 feet.

The sign used more than a mile of neon tubing to create an intricate design and changes as the A&Eagle takes flight.

Due to several factors, including damage to the sign and the age of the materials, the sign fell into disrepair. These updates have been in the works since 2020. The COVID-related shipping delays and electrical complications, are other factors that delays in the renovation. It was a lengthy process to guarantee the sign was properly renovated and returned to its original form.

The “A” part of the logo is now filled with over 1,000 LED lamps. They designed the bulbs to turn on from the bottom up – like beer being poured into a glass that is filling up.

“To me it signified the relationship my dad and I had, it’s something so simple as that,” Anderson said.

The relighting serves as a gesture to St. Louis from AB InBev that it continues to honor its commitment to Budweiser’s hometown.

“It’s been a staple in the community, it’s been a landmark in the community,” said Jaimie Corradini said. “So, it’s just part of our history.”