Pabst Blue Ribbon is a pale lager sold by Pabst Brewing Company, which originated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. First sold in in 1844, Pabst was originally called Best Select (with a can opener) and then Pabst Select.
The current name comes from the blue ribbons that were tied around the bottle neck, a practice that ran from 1882 until 1916 after it won the title of "America’s Best" at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
Pabst is now based in Los Angeles, CA and is contract-brewed by six different breweries around the United States.
Popularity and Culture
Sales of Pabst peaked in 1977, when they reached 18 million barrels; by 2001, the brand's sales were below a million barrels, 90% less than the peak.
In the early 2000s, the beer experienced a sales revival due to its increasing popularity among "urban hipsters." Pabst marginally caters to this newfound audience through user-submitted photography on its website featuring Pabst drinkers, user-submitted fan art which is posted on its Facebook page, sponsorship of indie music (such as Power Born Rebellion a.k.a "The PBR Band"), facial hair clubs, dive bars, and National Public Radio programming.
In pop culture, PBR has been featured in films such as Blue Velvet, Everything Must Go and Gran Torino, and in television shows such as AMC's Breaking Bad and in South Park episode "The Poor Kid."
Outside the U.S.
In Asia, Pabst Blue Ribbon America has a licensing agreement and joint venture arrangement with China Pabst Blue Ribbon. China Pabst recently released a new beer called Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844 for consumption in the domestic market; it sells for $44 U.S. a bottle.
Pabst Blue Ribbon was launched in Sweden in April 2012, imported by Galatea Beer Spirits & Wine and sold in Systembolaget stores. The Pabst Blue Ribbon sold in Sweden is labeled as the "export" version, and contains 4.5% ABV. Pabst Blue Ribbon export is brewed and bottled in America and then shipped to Sweden.
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