If you didn’t know, Pabst Blue Ribbon is the hipster beer of choice. I didn’t used to believe this was possible, but I’ve personally witnessed the prevalence of Pabst Blue Ribbon in the funkier parts of four North American cities in the past two months. It’s the truth.
I find the popularity of Pabst Blue Ribbon surprising and upsetting. Surprising because, in Vancouver at least, hipsters are responsible for producing most of the best craft beer and innovative food. Upsetting because Pabst Blue Ribbon tastes not very good. It scores a whopping 2/100 on RateBeer. Needless to say, I’m not a big fan of PBR.
BUT WHY THE HIPSTER LOVE? I mean, there must be a reason, and I’m quite sure it’s not to do with taste. PBR was first brewed in 1844, so maybe because it’s old? But then there’s lots of old beers, why aren’t Abbey beers the coolest? Maybe because PBR is pretty cheap? But there’s lots of other beers in the same price range, or cheaper. Maybe because it’s so uncool that it’s super cool? I don’t know, I don’t get hipsters.
Turns out other people on the internets were also wondering why PBR is so cool with the kids who aren’t trying to try to look cool. As it would happen, PBR is actually popular because it was so uncool that it became cool with the ironic crowd in the late nineties. A PBR marketing manager jumped all over this and began sponsoring indie music, skate shops, art galleries, weird sports, facial hair clubs, and other hipstery things. This Quora thread and this Wikipedia blurb do a good job of explaining what went down. I find it really funny that PBR themselves decline to acknowledge their hipster fan base for fear of becoming inauthentic.
But now that everyone knows PBR is cool, is it uncool? Probably, since hipsters sort of got punked into drinking bad beer. Hey cool kids, maybe start drinking better tasting local craft beer?
UPDATE: One of my colleagues sent me this fantastic article on the rise of PBR. Read it instead of this post.