A Requiem for Cheap PBR

Categories: Whimsy

LoveShackBeer.jpg
Lauren Drews Daniels
I got a kick out of this picture from Lauren's Love Shack burger story earlier today. Maybe a decade or so ago, I used to buy an occasional six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon at a Giant grocery store near my place. I think I paid $4-something for that sixer. I know I paid less than $5. Half a case wasn't much more.

A can of PBR now costs $3.25 at Lee Harvey's. The Black Swann gets $3 for a can; the Granada gets $5 for a 24-ounce tall boy. High prices compared to Tim Love's dollar cans, though you have to buy those five at a time. (A similar five-can special at Stackhouse runs $10.)

It's commonly thought that hipster demand drove up the price for the blue-ribboned cans, but that's only half the story. Sure, PBR marketed directly to the alternative crowd, but that crowd has now pushed way beyond skinny jeans and waxed mustaches. A new iPhone app that promises to hook you up with the nearest can seems to court a customer that certainly reaches beyond whatever a hipster is nowadays and into something nearing yuppiehood.

The proliferation of PBR came from a marketing effort that was rooted in the Portland, Oregon punk scene but soon took on a life of its own. The company hired brand advocates and armed them with cases of free beer to hand out at bars, discounted beer to sell to event planners, and buckets of swag to give away.

Those advocates snapped photos of enthusiastic drinkers, helped party organizers navigate alcohol regulations, and made sure that everyone who was anyone had a silver can in their hands, no matter how refined their record collection was.

If you were ever one of those people, you're the one responsible for the higher price of PBR, not just the hipsters. PBR is taking advantage of the oldest market principle known to man. They're charging what we're all willing to pay.

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19 comments
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Marvin Lee
Marvin Lee

$10.99 a twelve pack at Fiesta. I always think of Blue Velvet when I see PBR...

Hillwally.
Hillwally.

Come to Flagstaff, AZ on a Wednesday night.  $1 PBRs at Bigfoot.  Friday is 2 for 1 PBR drafts ($3).  Pity poor Texicans.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

First time I noticed PBR making a comeback was about 2 years ago.  I was in KC for the cowboys Chiefs game, and some buds and I went out in the artsy fartsy district.  We went to a bar called Chez Charlie's, they had PBR and Hamm's for 1.50 in the can.  Needless to say, my boys were beyond trashed after about 15 cans each, thank goodness we all had DD's that night.  The most interesting part of the night was when the Dj walked in with a turntable, single speaker and a box of 45's.  He spun 70 funk all night.

Coleman
Coleman

two-dollar tallboys at Serious Pizza!

Montemalone
Montemalone

I didn't know Zima was made from carp.I should have had it with a side a tartar sauce.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

The people the drink PBR now are the same type of easy manipulated sheep that drank Zima (carp malt liquor) during it's hay day.

No taste, no brains, no sense of self worth.

Knoncolleen
Knoncolleen

PBR me ASAP. Through a straw. At July Alley...

Kenny Noggins
Kenny Noggins

citing a Tuesday and Wednesday-only special for the price of PBR at Love Shack is barking up the wrong tree. then 10 years ago, the purchase price from a retailer for a 6-pack...totally incorrect scenario. now it just sounds like bitching.

I agree that $3.25 for a can is too much for a can. I drink it too, when tired of beers w/ more alcohol % or booze, but damn, between miller lite, lone star, PBR is there really a difference?

the whining about and defending PBR, on its cost and it's hipster du/hipster dont image...who cares? it's swill beer, seriously. no it's not a hipster beer at all. it's swill. by defending it or making more out of it than what it really is that makes is a hipster beer.

therrick
therrick

If it ain't cheap then I ain't drinking it, so I'm not part of the problem.

Keithdylan
Keithdylan

The Brickhouse sells the cans for $2, however, I had PBR on draft in Chicago and it's a completely different beer from the tap, for the better.

Allie Seago
Allie Seago

I agree. I've had PBR from the tap at The Amersterdam Bar and it is SO different.

Nic Rodriguez
Nic Rodriguez

I don't think I've ever had anything but Old Style and Stagg in Chicago.

Keithdylan
Keithdylan

The Brickhouse sells the cans for $2, however, I had PBR on draft in Chicago and it's a completely different beer from the tap, for the better.

B1ng
B1ng

Draft PBR gives me the shits.

Whitney Filloon
Whitney Filloon

Agreed, I had it on draft at Amsterdam Bar a while back and it tasted fucking awesome.

Whitney Filloon
Whitney Filloon

Agreed, I had it on draft at Amsterdam Bar a while back and it tasted fucking awesome.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Lately it seems like if The Chesterfield charged you $6 for a can you'd get down on your knees about it and order a custom hat.

Yep, the Observer is part of the problem.

Drink Keystone--it's the legit cheap-ass beer.

Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins

Keith Stone might have something to say about that.

cp
cp

The only way I can drink that stuff is with some lime and salt. And if I have to decorate up my beer with lime and salt, then I as well not need it. Even if it's only a dollar. 

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