Like many of you, during college I was not afraid to buy and drink a ton of the cheapest beer I could get my hands on – Stroh’s, Hamm’s, Schaefer, Old Milwaukee, among many others. And while many of these brands have been driven into obscurity, I recently read that old, reliable Pabst Blue Ribbon has been making a major comeback. As reported by Darren Rovell of CNBC:

“Fastest growing domestic beers over last yr by $ %: Pabst Blue Ribbon +14.5%, Yuengling +13%, Bud Select 55 +12.2%, Bud Ice +4.8%”

This was pretty stunning to me, but it probably shouldn’t have been. Thinking back, I recall recently seeing PBR offered in both dive bars and top shelf restaurants. Somehow, the marketing gurus behind this inexpensive, amber beverage have found a way to make it appealing to both the working class/college student, as well as the urban hipster/yuppie crowd.

Pabst is now seen as a cool brand, and touches a piece of nostalgia that giants Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, and their huge marketing budgets, have not been able to tap into. Apparently, choosing your spots (see top), rather than wall-to-wall ads, can be a winning formula – even when up against an era of mass craft beer production.

It is hard to fake authenticity. And even though PBR is not a good tasting beer, it has carved its own niche into the culture, and the revenue uptick, among a landscape of decreasing profits, shows the bottom line.

What are your thoughts on Pabst? Are you an occasional partaker? Is it possible that the resurgence is related to their sterling new ad campaign?

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3 Responses

  1. David

    It was actually a very well executed marketing strategy began in 2001 targeting market influencers. The growth has been considerable and brought the brand back from obscurity. It sold less than 2 years ago to a billionaire who has put his sons in charge of the company. It is actually a really interesting story. I don’t want to be that guy that posts links on other people’s blog, but if you check my site I have a story on it.

  2. Obbop

    I no longer consume alcoholic beverages of ANY type.

    Personal reasons for that.

    Never was much of an alcohol drinker; preferred relaxing with a doobie instead.

    But, when I did consume alcohol it was pert-near’ always a beer or two and my preference was for Pabst Blue Ribbon.

    It conveyed a taste I subjectively felt was what a true beer SHOULD convey.

    From the tap was best followed by botlled with Pabst in a can third but all carried the beer taste a “true” beer should have.

  3. TJA

    I never liked Pabst and I am old enough toremember when it was a major beer brand. For my money it will always be Miller High Life


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