Pabst Blue Ribbon
|Manufacturer||Pabst Brewing Company|
|Alcohol by volume||4.74% – 5.9%|
Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is an American brand of beer sold by Pabst Brewing Company, originally established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1844, but now based in Los Angeles. Pabst Blue Ribbon is contract-brewed in six different breweries around the U.S. in facilities owned by Miller Brewing Company (a few of which were actually Pabst breweries at one time).
Originally called Best Select, and then Pabst Select, the current name came from the blue ribbons that were tied around the bottle neck, a practice that ran from 1882 until 1916.
The company has historically claimed its flagship beer was renamed Pabst Blue Ribbon following its win as "America’s Best" at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Even though it earned that name, it never actually won a blue ribbon.
|“||This is the original Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Nature's choicest products provide its prized flavor. Only the finest of hops and grains are used. Selected as America's Best in 1893.||”|
Whether the brand actually won an award in 1893 is unclear. Some contemporaneous accounts indicate that many vendors were frustrated by the fair's refusal to award such prizes. One account says that the only prizes awarded by the executive committee were bronze medals, in recognition of "some independent and essential excellence in the article displayed", rather than "merely to indicate the relative merits of competing exhibits".
Sales of Pabst peaked in 1977, when they reached 18 million barrels; by 2001, the brand's sales were below a million barrels, 90% less than the peak. While there is some disagreement about the origin of Pabst Blue Ribbon, it has been proven by beer historians that it is an American and not a German beer.
Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, published the following tasting notes for Pabst Blue Ribbon in 2008: "A contrasting counterpoint of sharp texture and flowing sweetness is evident at the first sip of this historic brew. A slowly increasing hoppiness adds to the interplay of ingredients, while the texture smooths out by mid-bottle. The clear, pale-gold body is light and fizzy. Medium-bodied Blue Ribbon finishes with a dusting of malts and hops. A satisfying American classic and a Gold Medal winner at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival."
A 12 US fluid ounces (0.35 l) Pabst Blue Ribbon has:
Marketing and revival
The beer experienced a sales revival in the early 2000s after a two decade-long slump, largely due to its increasing popularity among urban hipsters. Although the Pabst website features user-submitted photography, much of which features twenty-something Pabst drinkers dressed in alternative fashions, the company has opted not to fully embrace the countercultural label in its marketing, fearing that doing so could jeopardize the very "authenticity" that made the brand popular (as was the case with the poorly received OK Soda). Pabst instead targets its desired market niche through the sponsorship of indie music, local businesses, facial hair clubs (RVA Beard League), post-collegiate sports teams, dive bars and radio programming like National Public Radio's All Things Considered. The beer has also been featured prominently in films such as Blue Velvet, Everything Must Go and Gran Torino, and in television shows such as AMC's Breaking Bad. The company encourages fan art to be submitted online, and is subsequently shown on the beer's official Facebook page.
Outside of the United States
Pabst Blue Ribbon America has a licensing agreement and joint venture arrangement with China Pabst Blue Ribbon. It is produced, marketed and distributed by CBR Brewing Company, which jointly owns the company along with Guangdong Blue Ribbon Group under a sub-licensing agreement with the Pabst Brewing Company. CBR is a British Virgin Islands owned company but it is based in Hong Kong.  China Pabst recently released a new beer called Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844 for consumption in the domestic market; it sells for 44 U.S. dollars a bottle.
Pabst Blue Ribbon was launched in Sweden in April 2012, imported by Galatea Beer Spirits & Wine and sold in Systembolaget stores. The Pabst Blue Ribbon sold in Sweden is labeled as the "export" version. According to Galatea it is an "extra flavorful version brewed for the Swedish market", and contains 4.5% ABV. Pabst Blue Ribbon export is brewed and bottled in America and then shipped to Sweden.
Pabst Blue Ribbon is brewed by Sleeman Breweries of Guelph, Ontario (although credited as 'Stroh Canada' on the labeling).
- Li, Shan (2011-05-14). "Pabst headquarters moving to Los Angeles". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-05-16.
- "The brewery's flagship beer was finally renamed Pabst Blue Ribbon following its win as 'America's Best' at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago". Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- Bancroft, Hubert Howe. The Book of the Fair: an historical and descriptive presentation of the world's science, art, and industry, as viewed through the Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893, designed to set forth the display made by the Congress of Nations, of human achievement in material form, so as to more effectually to illustrate the profess of mankind in all the departments of civilized life. Chicago, San Francisco: The Bancroft Company, 1893. p.83. (10 v. [approx., 1000p.]: illus. (incl. ports.), 41 cm.)
- Pabst Brewing Co. Timeline from the company's website
- Rob Walker (June 22, 2003). "The Marketing of No Marketing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- "365 Bottles of Beer for the Year". Workman Publishing. 2008.
- "Marketing With a Whisper". Fast Company. January 11, 2003. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "Pabst Blue Ribbon Homepage". Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- Carly Berwick (June 25, 2008). "Murketing to Hipsters Saves Pabst, Boosts Apple". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- Edward McClelland (August 11, 2008). "And the next great American beer will be...?". Salon.com. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- "Pabst Blue Ribbon Lacrosse". PBR Lacrosse is the official lacrosse team of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. PBR Lacrosse is the premier post-collegiate lacrosse team in Houston, Texas. The team is made up of post-NCAA Division I, II and III and MCLA players. They compete against SWLA teams throughout the state of Texas and play in tournaments in the southern United States region.
- Dan Eaton (November 16, 2008). "Pabst gives marketing campaign a blue ribbon for effectiveness". Columbus Business First. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- Blue Velvet Pabst Blue Ribbon on YouTube
- "Pabst Blue Ribbon, Everything Must Go and Gran Torino - Coolspotters". Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- "Pabst Blue Ribbon to be distributed in Australia". Australian Brews News. September 25, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- "Pabst Blue Ribbon Premium Lager Cans 473mL". Dan Murphy's Online. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Sittig, marshall (1995). Guide to China Business Contacts: Companies, Places, and Markets.
- Hoover's Masterlist of Major U.S. Companies 1998-1999. 1998.
- Miller, Russell (2000). Doing Business in Newly Privatized Markets: Global Opportunities and Challenges.
- Official website
- A souvenir booklet from the Pabst Brewing Company, 1907, Wisconsin Historical Society
- Did Pabst Brewing Company really win a Blue Ribbon at the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago?, Neil Gale, PhD - Historian