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Pabst Blue Ribbon goes to China: magically turns into a $44 brew

When female stars in films try to get over a breakup or suddenly harness superpowers, they'll drastically change their hair. When brands go abroad, they'll change their market position.

So too does Pabst Blue Ribbon, or PBR as those hipster kids call it. Coveted by the ironic crowd for being the cheapest beer available, it has gained cult status in the states. In China however, it's marketed with the line "Heritage classic breakthrough" as seen on a banner on their site, and Danwei says that the bottle will sell for 300 RMB - that's a whopping 44 US dollars, guys.

"China's beer market has an annual sales volume of 40 million tons. So why is the price of beer always around 5 or 10 yuan?"
Ni Chunlin said that the release of Blue Ribbon 1844 is aimed at changing consumers' ideas about beer. "The high-end market is occupied by baijiu and wine. Chinese people can afford to drink baijiu that costs tens of thousands, and I believe that a 300-yuan beer won't be a problem either."

The campaign in China centers on heritage, and the number 1844, as Pabst has been brewing beer since 1844, and the ad copy aligns Pabst with fine spirits that also age in wooden casks:

"It's not just Scotch that's put into wooden casks. There's also Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer 1844
Many world-famous spirits
Are matured in precious wooden casks
Scotch whisky, French brandy, Bordeaux wine...
They all spend long days inside wooden casks"

So, we're selling the hipster-swill to China at a horrendous overprice? I think my irony-meter just broke. *taps glass* Yep, that's a goner.

It's a far cry from the all-american seventies ads, where beer longing men would sing a song about horses.

Update there's more info on the 1844 Pabst here: Modern Brewery Age (PDF).

“We just produced China’s first real specialty beer, an all-malt, reddish brown strong (15.7 plato) ale, dry hopped with Cascade (38 IBU) and aged in new uncharred American whiskey barrels,” Mr. Kornhauser reports. “It's being bottled in a nice looking 720-ml brown bottle with an enamel label and it is called Blue Ribbon 1844, a reference to Pabst’s founding date. It will only be sold in China, and it’s going to sell for over $20 a bottle!”

So, the 1844 that may or may not go for 44 bucks is a totally different animal from the cheap cans of PBR in the states. Wonder if any hipsters will start importing this to the US....

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Neo's picture

Who will be the first to import the luxury Pabst to the US and shill it to hipsters with disposable income?

Dabitch's picture

There's so much irony in that, it might be just the thing to kill hipster culture.