Pabst Blue Ribbon has long been the frosty-cold beverage of choice for those who style themselves as dork-glasses-wearing, skinny-jeans-sporting, retro-everything-loving irony junkies. It's also been the brew most favored by grandfathers, proud blue-collar factory workers, heavy boozers who haven't yet transitioned to clear liquors and underpaid creative types like... Well, pretty much all creative types.
But now, word has come down that the venerable brand is being bought by bazillionaire food industry investor C. Dean Metropoulos.
Don't know the name? Don't worry. He's a behind-the-scenes kind of guy who made a name for himself by revitalizing old or doddering brands like Bumblebee Tuna, Chef Boyardee and Vlassic (the pickle people). The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Metropoulos picked up Pabst Brewing Co. for a cool $250 million. And for that price he also snagged Schlitz, Old Style, Lone Star and Colt 45.--all brands owned by Pabst, all brewed under contract by MillerCoors LLC.So what, then, did Metropoulos get for his millions? Well, you can read the original WSJ story to get the business-y take on it. Or the Huffington Post response, but the nut of it is this: PBR (and a bunch of other old-school, blue collar brands) have now been taken away from the charitable foundation which once owned them (yeah, I said charitable foundation: the California-based Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, named for the late brewery magnate Paul Kalmanovitz) because the IRS had determined that having a for-profit business owned by a charity was, like, totally illegal, and Metropoulos, along with his sons, will now be running these brands until (if his past business practices are any indication) he decides he can sell them to someone else at a wicked profit.
So does it matter to you where your beer comes from? Does it bother you knowing that it is now owned by some dude with a funny name rather than its historic forebears? Was there something in the history of Pabst that made it more attractive to those looking for a cheap, canned beer to drink while discussing Thundercats at the bar or talking about how cool the White Stripes used to be before they sold out?
Not to me. But then, I drink Corona--proudly brewed and bottled by Cerveceria Modelo in Mexico (with a non-controlling 50% stake held by Anheuser-Busch InBev, of course).