Pabst Brewing Company: The Classic Revival of the 'Pabst Blue Ribbon' Brand


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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG189
Case Length : 15 pages
Period : 2001-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Pabst Brewing Company
Industry : Beer
Countries : USA

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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“We want the people to discover it [Pabst Blue Ribbon]. We allow them to find that it's on the premises, that it's making a comeback. Our marketing is that we really facilitate what the market wants.” 1

- Neal Stewart, Brand Manager, Pabst Brewing Company, April 2003.

“People are looking to older brands like Schlitz or Pabst. Instead of going mainstream, they're going for an American classic; Pabst Blue Ribbon had become the hot-rod of beers.” 2

- Alan O'Campbell, General Manager, Downtown Wine & Spirits3, October 2004.

“If people like it, it is because it's non-pretentious; you have to be careful how you market it.” 4

- Kristi Bridges, Partner and Creative Director, Sawtooth Group Inc.5, February 2007.

A Case for Authentic Marketing?

In the year 2002, the sales of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), a beer brand in the US, grew by 5 percent and in the following year, by 15 percent.6 The growth in the sales of the brand was inexplicable considering that the company that owned the brand, Pabst Brewing Company (PBC), had not started any high-profile marketing campaign.

PBR was a premium beer brand and one of the oldest in the US. It enjoyed wide brand recall and loyalty among millions of consumers in the country. But its sales began to fall in the late 1970s and, at one point of time, even slipped below the one million barrels per annum mark, raising concerns of its being eventually withdrawn from the market.

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1] Bret Schulte, “Pabst Blue Ribbon: Another Winner,” www.washingtonpost.com, April 20, 2003.

2] “American 'Classic'Beers Back in Vogue,” www.jointogether.org, October 22, 2004.

3] Downtown Wine and Spirits, company based in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA, is a liquor.

4] Laura Blum, “Pabst Blue Ribbon Set for a Fresh Pour,” www.brandweek.com, February 14, 2007.

5] Sawtooth Group Inc., based in Woodbridge, New Jersey, USA, is a brand consultancy and advertising agency.

6] Rob Walker, “Pabst Unsold,” www.robwalker.net/contents/jm_pabst.html.

 

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