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?