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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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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A Case for Authentic Marketing? Contd...

The increase in demand for the brand since 2002 was significant as sales had declined continuously since 1978 through 2001. The sales of PBR suddenly started to increase in Portland , Oregon, in 2001. The increase in sales soon spread to other parts of the US.

The rise was so dramatic that some prominent bars too started offering PBR, a brand that had begun to be associated with blue-collar workers, to their customers. “It's almost got this cult-type following, I have never seen that kind of growth, especially in a brand that's been down and out,”8 said John Curley, the general manager of DET Distributing Co.9

The growth of PBR continued through 2007 and it also ranked among the fastest growing beer brands in the US since 2003.

This was indeed a great achievement as industry experts believed that any beer brand that lost market share for a few seasons it would be very difficult to revive. Analysts felt that the revival of the brand was more significant as the marketing team at PBC did not resort to a high profile marketing campaign for the purpose. The brand was primarily rejuvenated by PBC studying the customer segments that loved PBR and devising specific localized strategies to create a buzz around the brand. While other beer brands concentrated on positioning and repositioning their brands through multi-million dollar promotional campaigns, PBC concentrated on enhancing their relationships with the sub-cultures that were driving the sales of PBR...

Excerpts >>

8] Carlos Centeno, “Pabst Making Comeback,”, March 21, 2004.

9] DET Distributing Co., based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, is a wholesale merchant in beer and ale.


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