A favorite beer of brewers (and college kids, and hipsters, and 30-somethings with beards and flannel) across the country is getting some new siblings. Pabst Blue Ribbon, lovingly known as PBR, is celebrating its 175th birthday by launching two new products this year: Pabst Blue Ribbon Extra and Pabst Blue Ribbon Non-Alcoholic. The beers hit the market late last month.
In an announcement from Pabst, the company cited growing demand from its customers as they look for “flexibility and options for a range of lifestyles.” Pabst Blue Ribbon Extra looks to go after “heavy drinking beers” by offering a “light, crisp” drinking beer at a higher alcohol percentage, 6.5 percent, than regular PBR.
“It’s an upbeat, full-bodied, refreshing beer brewed for the big event,” according to the Pabst statement.
Along with the boozier offering, Pabst also recognizes there’s a growing need to offer a non-alcoholic offering. Pabst Blue Ribbon Non-Alcoholic is made with hops and grains but without the alcohol. “The next generation is the most social and diverse ever, with a greater focus on health and wellness, as well as community and connection,” the release said.
The two beers come on the heels of the company’s late 2018 launch of Pabst Blue Ribbon Easy, a 3.8 percent, lower-calorie lager. It precedes this summer’s launch of Pabst Blue Ribbon Whiskey. (There was another Pabst release, an American Pale Ale, but it was quickly shelved.)
Pabst also promises a series of “bold product innovations” will be launched later in the year for its 175th anniversary. Founded in Milwaukee in 1844, Pabst remains the largest privately held American brewing company. The company, now headquartered in Los Angeles, has a wide portfolio of legacy regional beer brands, like Schlitz, Blatz, Stroh’s, Old Style, Lone Star, Olympia, and Rainier. The company also has malt liquors Colt 45 and St. Ides in its portfolio — Pabst certainly has a stronghold of the cheap beers with fun histories.
While a staple in plenty of fridges across the nation, Pabst hopes to continue to be a beer “synonymous with creatives and doers.” It’s all good news for PBR fans, who had a slight scare last year as the company ran into legal issues with MillerCoors, which is contracted to brew the Pabst family of beers, up to 4.5 million barrels. The two companies settled, although the terms of the deal were not disclosed.