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.