PBR Is Now a Luxury Beer, Sort Of

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Photo: Mccun934's Flickr

Ad Ages answer to a fascinating question (Why do people favor crap beer PBR over other crap beers?) is no surprise: Back in 2004, Pabst executed a highly effective word-of-mouth campaign that made the long-declining brand an ironic downscale chic choice for bike messengers and other younger drinkers who viewed the beer as a statement of non-mainstream taste. Hipsters boosted PBR sales by 17 percent that year, and sales are up a good 24 percent this year, more than other subpremium beers that have spent more advertising dollars trying to appeal to recession slummers. But heres the joke: PBR raised its prices this year, and a case of the truckers piss now costs as much as $1.50 more than brands like Keystone, Natty Light, and High Life. Which means the folks who used to feel punk-rock chugging the cheap stuff now have to face the fact that theyre paying to buy into the hype. Not very cool.

Conspicuous (Downscale) Consumption: Pabst Sees 25% Sales Growth [Adage]