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Pabst Blue Ribbon Sells for $700 Million: The Long Life of an OK Beer

Pabst Blue Ribbon Sells for $700 Million: The Long Life of an OK Beer

How many Pabst Blue Ribbon does $700 million buy? All of it.

Russian brewer Oasis Beverages only shelled out a heady sum for Pabst Brewing, a Milwaukee operation behind Old Milwaukee, Schlitz, Colt 45, and a wash hipsters and ski bums call “peee-brrrr.” The sum represents a towering distinction for C. Dean Metropoulos, a investment organisation that bought Pabst in 2010 for only $250 million.

Pabst isn’t good beer, and it isn’t terrible. On Beer Advocate, that crowdsources reviews, PBR scores a 68 out of 100, circumference out Budweiser (56) and Miller Light (53). Tasting decent helps, as does being cheap. But Pabst’s success to date is roughly wholly a selling story—even stretching all a approach behind into a 19th century.

The association started winning drink competitions only before a Civil War. It cashed in on those victories by restraining blue ribbons around each bottle of a drink until 1916. The attempt worked, and a brewer was fast blazing by some-more than 1 million feet of silk per year.

In a 1940s, Pabst started sponsoring sporting events, which, trust it or not, was vanguard during a time. “It’s Pabst Blue Ribbon from a really initial round,” the ads sang. In a late-1950s it hired conform sketch Richard Avedon to fire a array of stylish two-page spreads. The regulation was classy: a male and a lady during leisure—on a beach; on a two-person bike—with a tagline “Pabst creates it perfect.”

All these campaigns were intelligent and successful, gripping Pabst nearby a tip of America’s Big Beer pyramid. U.S. sales appearance in 1977 during 18 million barrels. Then things got cheesy. There was this TV ad featuring a immature Patrick Swayze with disco fever.

And this spot with a boozy Jason Alexander (better famous as Seinfeld’s Costanza). Perhaps, not surprisingly, sales tanked.

In 1985, Paul Kalmanowitz bought a association for $63 million and instated a no-advertising policy. The drink (and a low price) would pronounce for itself. The patience struck a chord with drinkers who weren’t penetrating on their drink bill going to large promotion campaigns, and PBR’s hipster cred was born. The drink was indie during a time when there wasn’t many qualification around.

Sales solemnly came back. In a past 10 years, sales of Pabst have some-more than doubled, this during a duration when some of America’s many renouned brands were losing customers.

Metropoulos, meanwhile, didn’t disaster with a no-ad strategy—unless one considers a raise of PBR trucker hats, sweatbands, and jackets modeled after those ragged by gas-station attendants. The financier also attempted to favour a beer’s indie cred by sponsoring concerts, picture paintings, and mime festivals.

Last year, Metropoulos sole roughly 6 million barrels of PBR, according to Euromonitor, a distant cry from a beer’s 1970s hey-day, though a flattering heady figure nonetheless. Yeungling, Sam Adams, and a garland of other All-American brands didn’t come tighten to that volume.

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