Blame PBR-Swilling Hipsters For That $8.50 Bud Light You Just Ordered


More evidence that the hipster-hating movement is gaining traction came from Restaurant Sciences, a research company that tracks food and beverage sales across the country.

According to them, Pabst Blue Ribbon, well-known hipster drink of choice, is responsible for huge price jumps in the cheap beer market.

Calling the beer "sub-premium," an article in New York Daily News blames "Pabst Blue Ribbon-swilling hipsters" for the endangered species that is a cheap glass of beer in New York City. 

The study found that "sub-premium" beer prices in New York have risen 9.4% since last October. Chuck Ellis, head of the research company and unconfirmed hipster hater said, "I believe the single biggest driver in sub-premium beer price increases is indeed specifically PBR. It has become quite fashionable."

According to Restaurant Science's findings, "premium" beer prices have also risen but at around half the rate of their sub-premium neighbors.

More anti-hipster bartenders in the New York City area have beef with the brew. Sam Rio, bartender at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg, said the only reason to drink PBR is because it’s cheap. It sells for $3 a can at Pete's and $2 at Welcome to the Johnson's, a bar on the Lower East Side.

Bryan Clarke, PBR's senior brand manager, said PBR was one of the top four American beer brands until the mid-60s when sales began to slow, a trend that continued till the early 2000s.

In 2001, before hipsters were even hipsters, PBR launched a marketing-sans-marketing campaign in hipster breeding ground Portland, Oregon. The campaign asked consumers to design their best PBR advertisement for either downtown murals, newspaper boxes, or bar coasters.

The only effort the company put in was dispersing postcards in "Pabst Blue Ribbon-solid bars." Not trying is so hipster.

Eric Shepard, executive editor of Beer Marketer's Insights, said that "Pabst operates under the radar." So hipster.

He continued, "They have an anti-marketing stance." So hipster. "Now they're figuring out how to market without marketing, how to appeal to more drinkers without turning them off."

PBR has followed the trajectory of all things hipster. At first people (I guess the hipster pioneers) only drank it because it was cheap. Just like those same people used mason jars as drinking glasses because they were cheap, and wore worn down flannel because they didn't want to buy more expensive shirts.

Now PBR is making more money than "premium" beers, BuzzFeed has a list of 41 things to do with mason jars, and Urban Outfitters sells faded flannel shirts for $80.

The outrage against PBR's trendy success is both understandable and stupid at the same time. Pabst just did what every company wishes they could do — get more customers by doing absolutely nothing. It doesn't seem to me like anyone is to blame here; what everyone should be doing is congratulating Pabst for their accidental marketing success.