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Working class chic

April 29, 2003

Pabst Blue Ribbon has become the beer of choice for groups of young hipsters across the country. There are at least two levels of reasoning we have found as to why:

The first is that Pabst is historically a blue collar, working class beer and there’s a certain appeal to the working class chic for non-working class twenty-somethings. Guys who sit in cubicles like the idea that they can change their own oil, even if they can’t. They put great effort into trying to seem natural, genuine and unaffected, all of which are qualities of the down-to-earth blue-collar image.

The second is that this is a reflexive pullback away from increasingly shrill beer marketing. Pabst has almost no advertising budget at all. If a beer oversells itself, it damages its own brand by pushing too hard. For instance, if Corona were to overpromote itself as the bikini good-time beer, this segment would smell the manipulation, they would see the seams and they would turn away. A guy has a moment of choice when he goes to buy a six-pack or order a pint. In this era, for this segment, the feeling of ‘I’m not Bud’s bitch, I think for myself,’ has more consequence than the over-crafted beer brand images.
Washington Post Article

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