July 15, 2010

Deluxe Pabst Blue Ribbon

No, I'm not kidding.  The owners of Pabst Blue Ribbon are releasing an up-market, premium beer branded with the PBR label, called "PBR 1844."  In China.  For thirty times the price of the ordinary stuff sold there.

If there was ever an offender in the "hoppy, semi-sweet, tasteless, too-carbonated barley pop" category, it would be PBR.  There was never a sillier trend than when affluent urban hipsters collectively decided to drink PBR as an ironic affectation of their communion with the blue collar lifestyle.

I understand the corporation that bought out the original rights to the brand name wants to get value for their money and that the profit margin on premium beer may well be enough to justify making and selling something more on the order of barley wine than ordinary suds.  But the niche they've carved out for themselves is one that borders on the edge of kitsch; their other branding properties include Colt 45 Malt Liquor, Lone Star, Schaefer, Schlitz, Schmidt's, Old Milwaukee, Old Style, Stroh's, and St. Ides Malt Liquor. 

So did they not also get the rights to use "Best Select" along with the PBR brand?  That was the original name, after all.  Maybe you tie an actual blue ribbon around the neck of the bottle in another nod to the brand's history.  Seems like a good idea to me, but then again I chose a career in law, not in marketing.  So let's just add this to the "world turns upside down" file.

Via James Joyner.

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