Hipster Beer PBR Cruises in Recession

Downmarket brew's sales skyrocket as usual suspects flounder

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 11, 2009 1:19 PM CST

(Newser) – Pabst Blue Ribbon has profited from a hipster following for years because of its unpretentious image and low-profile marketing, so it makes sense that even a recession hasn’t dimmed the brand’s power. Sales are up 30% for the year ending in October, trouncing beer’s overall 1.1% increase and shaming Budweiser, down 7%.

Why? It’s actually not the cheapest—but when “you can’t bring yourself to drink Budweiser,” an author tells Fortune, “there’s your answer.” Meanwhile, the upshot of a byzantine tale of ownership and federal involvement means PBR must be sold by 2010. In true Pabst fashion, a fan has set up a website so drinkers can attempt a not-so-hostile takeover, and $20 million of the likely $300 million has already been raised.

A Pabst toast.
A Pabst toast.   (Flickr)
Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.   (Flickr)
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