Pabst Blue Ribbon

By: Dora Lisa Chavez

There is a vast amount of trends within Portland Oregon, but what that has stuck out for me, is beer. I enjoy going to different bars/lounges throughout Portland but what I have noticed is the rise in demand in Pabst Blue Ribbon or Pabst for short. Before going to lounges around Portland I had never really noticed the high demand for it until I turned twenty one. Pabst typically tends to be the cheapest drink at the venue. For some odd reason, people are drawn to this drink, so I wanted to see why I too was so drawn to this drink. Upon researching this history in advertisements with Pabst I noticed that this drink appeared in various television shows such as the Mullets, there was even the 1980’s  Disney film Midnight Madness featured the Pabst brewery. The M*A*S*H* movie released in 1970 shows the members of the 4077th drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Also, in the 2008 Clint Eastwood character, Walt Kowalski, drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon as his preferred beer. In the 2009 Ellen Page, “Whip It” film; features Pabst throughout all the parties that take place. In the Television show Futurama Bender chooses to drink “Pabst Blue Robot”, which is a clear reference to Pabst.

In another aspect of adverting, the music industry is not left behind.  Rapper MC Lars’s song “Hipster Girl” mentions that hipsters drink PBR. The Zac Brown band song “Toes” includes a reference to Pabst Blue Ribbon with the lyrics “a PBR on the way.”The Eric Church song “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” includes a reference to Pabst Blue Ribbon with the lyrics “get loud and rowdy on PBR.”

The beer experienced a sales revival in the early 2000s after a two decade-long slump, largely due to its increasing popularity among the 20-something demographic in cities such as Norman, Oklahoma; Columbus, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and Richmond Virginia. As a result, it has become popularly associated with the contemporary hipster subculture. No wonder Pabst has been abruptly revived, with all the clever hidden marketing in films, movies, and even television shows. There is a clear demand for this alcoholic beverage, not only is it inexpensive, but many prefer the taste over other beers.

In addition, I have also seen a rise in merchandising referencing the beer, for instance, I have seen headbands, t shirts, posters, stickers and other miscellaneous things. I find it interesting that Pabst, was once associated with poor, drunk and majority white people. Now, it has shifted to some twenty something year olds with alternative styles that live in cities such as Portland, Chicago and Richmond. It’s funny how clever marketing can alter consumer’s perception of products from either negative to positive or vice versa.

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