PBR Raises Price, Doesn't Advertise—and Sales Soar

'Ironic downscale chic' keeps brand selling
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2009 2:25 PM CDT
Pabst Blue Ribbon has a carefully calculated hip, ironic appeal.   (Flickr)

(Newser) – It’s a good time to be a cheapo beer, but that alone can’t explain the ridiculous year Pabst Blue Ribbon is having, Advertising Age reports. PBR’s sales are up a whopping 25%, making it by far the fastest growing cheap beer, which is especially astounding because it’s not that cheap anymore. PBR’s cases now costs $1.50 more than Keystone’s and 50 cents more than Miller’s.

What’s more, even as all its peers beefed up their ad budgets to cash in on the recession, PBR didn’t spend a dime on media this year. Instead, it relied on the wildly successful word-of-mouth campaign launched back in 2004 that reimagined the failing brand as an “ironic downscale chic” brew. “There’s still a bit of hipness to it,” says one industry expert. “Of all the subpremiums, it’s got a little more cache.”