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Nzoner
06-07-2010, 09:10 AM
And maybe, just maybe, there's another reason: that as wine, spirits, and craft beer promise variety and taste, drinkers are finally realizing what the rest of the world has been telling us for decades—mainstream American beer is awful (http://www.theatlantic.com/food/archive/2010/06/the-death-of-beer/57672/)

In an earlier post, I noted that beer consumption outside the craft sector was down significantly. It's a point worth elaborating on, because there is solid evidence that a big change is afoot in American alcohol consumption.

According to a recent article in Ad Age, sales of Bud Light are down 5.3 percent in 2010, while Miller Lite is down 7.5 percent. In fact, only four of the top 30 brands saw sales increase. These are not slight changes. For an industry that relies on slow and steady annual growth, they represent a full-blown crisis.

Ad Age, and the brewing industry, pin the blame on the economy—the target audience, 21- to 35-year-olds, are being hit hardest by unemployment, they say, so they have less to spend on booze. To back that up, Ad Age points to increased sales of the cheap stuff, like PBR and Yuengling, and it explains away the craft numbers by arguing that buyers are "saving their consumption for a special occasion by splurging on craft-style beers."

Maybe. But there's a larger story here. Follow any dude in oversized glasses into a bar, and you'll see why PBR and Yuengling are doing alright—they've spent serious time and money positioning themselves as the hipster drink of choice. Yes, they're cheaper than Bud Light, but by the slightest of margins. Hardly enough to explain the difference in sales.

Instead, consider the longer term: according to the Distilled Spirits Council's Industry Review Tables for 2010, for the last decade beer revenues and market share have declined steadily when compared to spirits and wine. By volume, Americans drank 4.5 percent less beer in 2009 than they did in 2000, but they drank 1.7 percent more spirits and 2.8 percent more wine. And that's for beer overall—including the explosion in demand for craft brews.

Why? One obvious guess is that America is becoming a more bourgeois place. Even as income inequality grows, fewer people work traditional working-class jobs or identify themselves as blue-collar, the typical base community for the beer industry. Simply put, fewer Americans think of themselves as the sort of folks who drink beer.

Moreover, consumers crave innovation, whether it's the newest club or the newest fashion trend. The same goes for alcohol. And where has the innovation been? In wine, where American vintners have secured a reputation among the best in the world. In spirits—pick your story: cocktail culture, the return of whiskey, or the explosion in vodka consumption. And in niche beer sales: craft on the one hand, hipster-oriented marketing by certain brands on the other. But for the big, traditional American brewers, the most innovation we've seen has been in the stale reshuffling of the same tired ad campaigns. (Drinkability, anyone?)

And maybe, just maybe, there's another reason: that as wine, spirits, and craft beer promise variety and taste, drinkers are finally realizing what the rest of the world has been telling us for decades—mainstream American beer is awful. And with more options available these days, it will take more than bikini-clad models and talking dogs to convince us otherwise.

NewChief
06-07-2010, 09:15 AM
It really is about cost to me (despite what the article says). Budweiser is way, way, way overpriced for what it is. Of course PBR and Old Style are now becoming overpriced as well due to their hipster cred. I'd drank Old Style bottles for about 10 years as my easy drinking beer of choice. I could get them for around $3.50 a six pack. Now they're up to almost $5 a six pack. No thanks. I'll spend a little extra and get something better, or I'll go bottom dollar and get something cheaper.

Baconeater
06-07-2010, 09:16 AM
I'm sure the internet has a lot to do with that, in the past people only knew about the beers that the talking picture box told us about over and over and over...

gblowfish
06-07-2010, 09:20 AM
I've gone from quantity to quality. In college, we'd buy as much beer as we could for the money, regardless of taste or quality. Usually that meant Grain Belt, or 905, or Carling Black Label, or Weideman's, or Shaefer, or Red White and Blue. If we splurged we'd buy Busch in longneck bottles.

Now I like Boulevard Wheat, or Bass Ale or Newcastle Brown, or Modelo Dark, depending on what we're having for dinner. Fewer beers, but much better beers.

I can still choke down a Bud at the ballpark, but I haven't bought a six pack of Bud for a long time. My wife drinks Coors Light, but that's like kiddie beer. It's not even beer, really.

Red Beans
06-07-2010, 09:21 AM
If I've got to go for quantity, I'll take Natural Light. I'm slowly getting the fiance accustomed to it as well. Bud Light is what she likes but it's too expensive for what it is as well...

I used to love Rolling Rock when they brewed it in PA, but now it tastes like Bud Light. (Thanks AB-InBev) I'd swill New Castle by the case if I wouldn't have to sell a testicle to afford it. Last time I checked it was roughly 16.00 for a 12-pack. Serious coin...

Baconeater
06-07-2010, 09:22 AM
It really is about cost to me (despite what the article says). Budweiser is way, way, way overpriced for what it is. Of course PBR and Old Style are now becoming overpriced as well due to their hipster cred. I'd drank Old Style bottles for about 10 years as my easy drinking beer of choice. I could get them for around $3.50 a six pack. Now they're up to almost $5 a six pack. No thanks. I'll spend a little extra and get something better, or I'll go bottom dollar and get something cheaper.
Yep, I'd just as soon save a couple bucks and drink Busch, it's not like it's really any less shitty.

And yes, cost is a factor, not because people want to spend less, but because you don't have to spend all that much more to get something good.

Reaper16
06-07-2010, 09:22 AM
Beer is only dying in the shitty sense of business market share. Beer, real beer, is thriving in this country and growing stronger by the day. This is not what death looks like, it is what a sustained rebirth than began in the late 1970's looks like.

CosmicPal
06-07-2010, 09:24 AM
More people are drinking at home these days. I used to go to bars 3 to 4 x's a week. Now, I might be lucky if I get to a bar once a month. The primary reason is the fear of getting a DUI. And I'm not talking about getting sloshed, I'm talking about having a mere 2 to 3 drinks- enough to put you at the minimum.

The financial penalties of scoring a DUI are simply not worth it, so I stay home now. I've got a well-stocked bar with all of the spirits, bottles of wines, and non-American beers. I've got limes, lemons, olives, beer steins sitting and waiting in the freezer, a bag of ice, and just about everything I need to mix a drink.

Add in an entertainment center with a couch, television, and stereo, and the world can kiss my ass.

The point is, when I'm at home, I'm going to drink the good stuff. When I'm at the bar, I drink the cheap shit.

And there's a great many folks like me- they've simply decided to stay home and avoided the costs of drinking out.

CosmicPal
06-07-2010, 09:28 AM
Weideman's, or .

LMAO

We drank the spit out of that stuff in college. A case of that nasty beer was only five bucks, if I remember correctly. That was certainly drinking for quantity and not quality.

I'm surprised I still have a liver after all the Weideman's we drank in college.

phisherman
06-07-2010, 09:28 AM
lots of truth to that CosmicPal.

Hard to justify dropping almost $4 per bottle on crappy domestic swill when I can enjoy deliciously complex beers of varying kinds for considerably less at home.

TrebMaxx
06-07-2010, 09:31 AM
I love my beer and drink it quite often. I splurge now and then for the craft brews but they are too pricey for everyday brew. I mostly drink Busch long necks because it's cheap.

gblowfish
06-07-2010, 09:31 AM
LMAO

We drank the spit out of that stuff in college. A case of that nasty beer was only five bucks, if I remember correctly. That was certainly drinking for quantity and not quality.

I'm surprised I still have a liver after all the Weideman's we drank in college.

Weidemann's: the finest beer ever brewed in Northern Kentucky!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudepohl_Brewing_Company

Frazod
06-07-2010, 09:36 AM
I don't drink shitty beer anymore. Ever. I don't care how many hot women with huge boobs Coors Light puts in their commercials - their product is piss, and does not come with a hot woman with huge boobs.

DaKCMan AP
06-07-2010, 09:41 AM
More people are drinking at home these days. I used to go to bars 3 to 4 x's a week. Now, I might be lucky if I get to a bar once a month. The primary reason is the fear of getting a DUI. And I'm not talking about getting sloshed, I'm talking about having a mere 2 to 3 drinks- enough to put you at the minimum.

The financial penalties of scoring a DUI are simply not worth it, so I stay home now. I've got a well-stocked bar with all of the spirits, bottles of wines, and non-American beers. I've got limes, lemons, olives, beer steins sitting and waiting in the freezer, a bag of ice, and just about everything I need to mix a drink.

Add in an entertainment center with a couch, television, and stereo, and the world can kiss my ass.

The point is, when I'm at home, I'm going to drink the good stuff. When I'm at the bar, I drink the cheap shit.

And there's a great many folks like me- they've simply decided to stay home and avoided the costs of drinking out.

Guess it depends upon the individual, but for me drinking is a social activity. I don't sit at home and drink alone. Now, we can have house parties, pool parties, etc. and drink but more often than not we all go out to a bar.

Shag
06-07-2010, 09:47 AM
Beer is only dying in the shitty sense of business market share. Beer, real beer, is thriving in this country and growing stronger by the day. This is not what death looks like, it is what a sustained rebirth than began in the late 1970's looks like.

This. Down with BMC, up with craft beer - craft beer is booming these days. Now, get rid of the 3-tier distributing system, and we'd really be talking...

Saccopoo
06-07-2010, 09:47 AM
PBR has hipster cred?

WTF?

I mean, seriously - wtf?

Frazod
06-07-2010, 09:49 AM
PBR has hipster cred?

WTF?

I mean, seriously - wtf?

Hipsters will drink/wear/think whatever they're told to.

Nzoner
06-07-2010, 09:50 AM
When I'm at the bar, I drink the cheap shit.

And there's a great many folks like me- they've simply decided to stay home and avoided the costs of drinking out.

I frequent a bar called 54th Street and for $20 a year I buy what they call a Gold Card which every Sunday and Monday entitles me to buy 1 get 1 free on all drinks.A 25 oz. Blvd Wheat is $5.75,so that makes for one helluva deal.

bevischief
06-07-2010, 09:51 AM
More people are drinking at home these days. I used to go to bars 3 to 4 x's a week. Now, I might be lucky if I get to a bar once a month. The primary reason is the fear of getting a DUI. And I'm not talking about getting sloshed, I'm talking about having a mere 2 to 3 drinks- enough to put you at the minimum.

The financial penalties of scoring a DUI are simply not worth it, so I stay home now. I've got a well-stocked bar with all of the spirits, bottles of wines, and non-American beers. I've got limes, lemons, olives, beer steins sitting and waiting in the freezer, a bag of ice, and just about everything I need to mix a drink.

Add in an entertainment center with a couch, television, and stereo, and the world can kiss my ass.

The point is, when I'm at home, I'm going to drink the good stuff. When I'm at the bar, I drink the cheap shit.

And there's a great many folks like me- they've simply decided to stay home and avoided the costs of drinking out.

Right on the money.

tooge
06-07-2010, 09:54 AM
I dont really go to bars, and I dont really drink at home alone. If I am gonna have a beer or two at home, it is gonna be a good craft beer. I'll drink crap if I'm at a large event and plan on drinking more (than I should), but nowadays, I end up going to whiskey cuz I get "beered out" after more than a few.

gblowfish
06-07-2010, 09:56 AM
PBR has hipster cred?

WTF?

I mean, seriously - wtf?

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L.A. Chieffan
06-07-2010, 09:58 AM
i cant really afford the good shit like pbr and natty, so i usually just jack 40s of OE from the korean place on the corner

Infidel Goat
06-07-2010, 09:59 AM
My cheap beer ($12.77 for 24 cans over Memorial Day weekend):

http://www.pointsincase.com/tyler/uploaded_images/yuengling-lager-798888.jpg

It has an amber tone close to Sam Adams, and I like it quite a bit at that price. The Beer Advocate guys give it a "B" which is about the best of any mass produced beer.

I prefer Bell's Two Hearted Ale--but at $10 a six pack, it's more of an occasional treat...

Pants
06-07-2010, 10:00 AM
I must be getting old, when did PBR become the choice beer? That shit is worse than horse piss.

Saccopoo
06-07-2010, 10:00 AM
Hipsters will drink/wear/think whatever they're told to.

It's fucking PBR. It's been around forever and tastes like shit. How is that "hip" with the hipsters? That's not hip, that's my fat, 65 year old uncle in a 13' aluminum V-hull fishing boat in 1973.

What's next? Schlitz and Olympia featured on tap at the Burp Castle in NYC?

ChiTown
06-07-2010, 10:03 AM
I must be getting old, when did PBR become the choice beer? That shit is worse than horse piss.

You've tasted horse piss? :facepalm:

NewChief
06-07-2010, 10:03 AM
My cheap beer ($12.77 for 24 cans over Memorial Day weekend):

http://www.pointsincase.com/tyler/uploaded_images/yuengling-lager-798888.jpg

It has an amber tone close to Sam Adams, and I like it quite a bit at that price. The Beer Advocate guys give it a "B" which is about the best of any mass produced beer.

I prefer Bell's Two Hearted Ale--but at $10 a six pack, it's more of an occasional treat...

I wish we got Yuengling here.

gblowfish
06-07-2010, 10:04 AM
It's ****ing PBR. It's been around forever and tastes like shit. How is that "hip" with the hipsters? That's not hip, that's my fat, 65 year old uncle in a 13' aluminum V-hull fishing boat in 1973.

What's next? Schlitz and Olympia featured on tap at the Burp Castle in NYC?

Actually Pabst is now brewing and pushing Schlitz in many midwestern ciites (including KC) on a "Nostalga Beer" kick. First time I got really sick on beer was on Schlitz, and I still can't stand the smell of it. For some reason, its got something in it that kicks in my gag reflex.

http://beeradvocate.com/news/1312036

CosmicPal
06-07-2010, 10:04 AM
Guess it depends upon the individual, but for me drinking is a social activity.

I totally agree with you here- it is a social activity for me as well. If I know I'm going to drink quite a few at a bar, then I'll be sure to take a cab to and from the bar. That 20.00 cab fare is a whole lot cheaper than getting a DUI.

It's just that I don't do that as much anymore- simply because I've been unemployed for over a year and if I still want to drink the good stuff, I'm going to have to stay home and do it.

NewChief
06-07-2010, 10:07 AM
It's ****ing PBR. It's been around forever and tastes like shit. How is that "hip" with the hipsters? That's not hip, that's my fat, 65 year old uncle in a 13' aluminum V-hull fishing boat in 1973.

What's next? Schlitz and Olympia featured on tap at the Burp Castle in NYC?



Pabst managed to pull of a strangely effective word-of-mouth campaign that made the long-declining brand an "ironic downscale chic choice for bike messengers and other younger drinkers who viewed the beer as a statement of non-mainstream taste," reports Crain's.


Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/around-town/food-drink/Pabst-Blue-Ribbon-Now-More-Popular-Than-Ever-Sorry-Hipsters-59575967.html#ixzz0qBTRYcXa

My crew of friends had been drinking PBR and Old Style for like 10-15 years dating back to our college days. Then about 5 years ago, the shit became super popular. PBR is still cheap as hell... but Old Style's actually somewhat expensive now. We drank the hell out of Oly back then as well. Loved the little pictograph puzzles on the bottle caps (or was that Sterling?)

CosmicPal
06-07-2010, 10:07 AM
I frequent a bar called 54th Street and for $20 a year I buy what they call a Gold Card which every Sunday and Monday entitles me to buy 1 get 1 free on all drinks.A 25 oz. Blvd Wheat is $5.75,so that makes for one helluva deal.

Sweet. :thumb: That is a good deal. I'd be all over that. Particularly with the Boulevard beer.

Saccopoo
06-07-2010, 10:07 AM
Actually Pabst is now brewing and pushing Schlitz in many midwestern ciites (including KC) on a "Nostalga Beer" kick. First time I got really sick on beer was on Schlitz, and I still can't stand the smell of it. For some reason, its got something in it that kicks in my gag reflex.

http://beeradvocate.com/news/1312036

It's probably that "it's aged in moldy old oak barrels that are too shitty to be used by the McCormick bourbon production line" taste. I used to drink Schlitz just to get a reaction at parties in the late '80's, but it's not good.

Frazod
06-07-2010, 10:09 AM
It's fucking PBR. It's been around forever and tastes like shit. How is that "hip" with the hipsters? That's not hip, that's my fat, 65 year old uncle in a 13' aluminum V-hull fishing boat in 1973.

What's next? Schlitz and Olympia featured on tap at the Burp Castle in NYC?

Depends on if the right Beautiful Person starts drinking them.

Personally, I'll stick with my Hacker-Pschorr Weiss. And I don't give two shits if anybody else likes it or not.

CosmicPal
06-07-2010, 10:13 AM
I must be getting old, when did PBR become the choice beer? That shit is worse than horse piss.

I never could quite understand how or why it became the choice of beer for the twenty-somethings.

I used to live by the University of Denver and a lot of my neighbors were students and the bars in the neighborhood catered to the college students as well. They all drank PBR and I used to give them shit for it. Some of them tried to defend their consumption of it by saying it actually tasted good. Some even chimed in that it didn't give them nasty hangovers. WTF!

NewChief
06-07-2010, 10:15 AM
I never could quite understand how or why it became the choice of beer for the twenty-somethings.

I used to live by the University of Denver and a lot of my neighbors were students and the bars in the neighborhood catered to the college students as well. They all drank PBR and I used to give them shit for it. Some of them tried to defend their consumption of it by saying it actually tasted good. Some even chimed in that it didn't give them nasty hangovers. WTF!

It costs $1 at most bars around here. A six pack of bottles goes for around $3.50. It tastes like beer. That's why I drink it.

Pneuma
06-07-2010, 10:15 AM
For cheep beer I go with PBR...didn't realize it was hipster beer...I like the taste, or lack thereof, compared to other cheep beers. Been drinking it for years...

If not PBR, I would say my lowest quality beer is Boulevard Wheat/Blue Moon.

Americans are just starting to realized that Bush, Bud light, miller, coors, etc is truly horrible beer. Most beer drinkers have known this for a decade.

L.A. Chieffan
06-07-2010, 10:18 AM
its funny, when i went to europe for a while all the stuff like heineken, becks, newcastle was relatively cheap and the american cheap beer was expensive! should i get a bud or a stella for less? tough choice

CosmicPal
06-07-2010, 10:18 AM
It costs $1 at most bars around here. A six pack of bottles goes for around $3.50. It tastes like beer. That's why I drink it.

I understand. But that's not hip.

It's like I stated in an earlier post that we drank Weideman's in college 'cause it was like five dollars for a case of beer. We didn't consider it hip and we certainly didn't parade around town calling it out as the most delicious elixir for horny boys and girls.

Lzen
06-07-2010, 10:19 AM
You've tasted horse piss? :facepalm:

Well of course. And he prefers it to PBR. Duh.

Reaper16
06-07-2010, 10:20 AM
If I have to drink an adjunct lager then my choice would be PBR. It tastes waaaaaaay better than Bud, Miller, Coors, etc. It has an actual hop presence and it embraces the fact that it uses corn as an adjunct grain, making for a strong corn flavor. Schlitz Gusto would be my second choice, for largely the same reasons.

OnTheWarpath58
06-07-2010, 10:22 AM
If I couldn't afford good beer, I just wouldn't drink.

I can't remember the last time I drank something from AB or Miller/Coors.

Sam Adams, New Belgium and Bell's get my money, as far as domestics go.

NewChief
06-07-2010, 10:22 AM
If anyone is really interested in the whole PBR/hipster thing, this article is pretty good. I disagree that it all started in Portland in 2000 (artsy/indie people here in Fayetteville, as I've said, have been drinking Old Style and PBR since at least 1996).

http://www.salon.com/life/food/eat_drink/2008/08/11/pabst_blue_ribbon

MONDAY, AUG 11, 2008 06:26 ET
And the next great American beer will be...?
Pabst may be worshiped by hipsters, but can it replace Budweiser as the best classic domestic brew? The answer may surprise you.
BY EDWARD MCCLELLAND

See a list of cheap American beers here.
It was one of the hipper events this unhip correspondent has ever attended. The Windy City Story Slam was held in an unmarked storefront on the northwest side of Chicago. The neighborhood was in the interzone between a bohemian enclave and a barrio. Paintings hung from the bare brick walls. The opening act was a locally famous Mexican bartender in overalls, who played obscene folk songs on his guitar. During the Slam, five contestants spun five-minute vignettes -- one was about a childhood fight, another a druggy ex-boyfriend. The winner, a man wearing the biggest glasses I'd seen since Charles Nelson Reilly ruled "Match Game," took home $50. Every mote and motif in the room was a post-millennial hipster cliché, including the beer of choice. In the back of the room was a bar selling Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Since the beginning of this decade, Pabst Blue Ribbon's audience has changed from old guys with refrigerators in their garages to arty young urbanites. An unexceptional and declining brand, a former top-three beer turned redneck also-ran, Pabst reinvented itself as the coolest of brews in a movement that began in a Portland, Ore., dive bar and spread to indie-rock shows across the country. But now Pabst is trying to move on from its success with hipsters to conquer a far larger and very different demographic: all-American beer drinkers alienated by Anheuser-Busch's sale to a Belgian corporation. In its campaign to snatch Budweiser's title of Great American Lager, Pabst is already employing the kind of slick, misleading marketing that's bound to turn off hipsters who've embraced it as the anti-Bud. It may be exactly the right move.

"Pabst Brewing Company will be the last of the famous iconic U.S. brewers to be fully independent and American-owned," the company gloats on its Web site. "Most of our brands ... have been around since the 1800's."

In an online survey, Pabst asked customers this question: "Would information about Pabst's American ownership on packaging, like bottles or cans, impact your decision to purchase our products?"

If it does, they're either chumps, or they're already drunk. First, Pabst isn't even a brewer. It closed its Milwaukee brewery in 1996, and now does business out of an office in suburban Chicago. Second, its beers aren't made in American-owned breweries. Pabst farms out production of its brands to Miller -- which belongs to a South African corporation.

But Pabst's "We're an American Brand" claim may succeed. Since the Bud sale, the only classic American-made beers left are tiny regional brands. They're the real Great American Lagers, but in most of the country, patriotic macro-brew drinkers can't find them. And, as a new book points out, Pabst's emergence as a "trendy" beer (to quote a Chicago bartender) demonstrates both the power of its red-white-and-blue image, and its success at marketing, even when that was achieved by barely marketing at all.

Pabst's revival as a "retro-chic" beer began in the early 2000s, at Lutz Tavern, in Portland, reports Rob Walker in "Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are." For years, Portland's bike messengers and skaters had slugged down Blitz, a low-cost local brew. After Blitz went out of business, Lutz filled its niche with $1 cans of Pabst. The beer was embraced not only for its cheapness, but also because hipsters could drink it without feeling they'd been coerced by a corporate message.

"Long-neglected PBR had no image," Walker writes. "It was just there. Scarce and cheap, it had few negative connotations beyond that it was a kind of blank canvas, where brand meaning could be filled in by consumers."

That's not exactly true. PBR was spending its few ad dollars to sponsor fishing tournaments and stock car races. The Johnny Russell song "Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer," and the "What'll You Have?" TV ads were vaguely embedded in Generation X's cultural consciousness, and one-buck Pabst was enough to revive them. Between 2001 and 2006, sales increased 67 percent.

Walker portrays the revivalists as trendy urbanites glomming on to blue-collar symbols. And they are, but not quite in the same way as a graphic designer who wears a Carhartt jacket because it's "unpretentious." Hipsters fetishize the lowbrow culture of the '70s and '80s. But hipsters also tend to hold down jobs as bar backs and waiters. Sure, there are trust funders among them, but they're mostly young people with thin wallets. The luckiest ones are still the lumpen of media and information technology. They can affect a trucker cap, but they might not have the cash for a truck. The hipster's beer of choice is always going to be a cheap one.

During his research, Walker met a skate punk who liked Pabst because he'd never seen an ad. "They're not insulting you," the skater said, perhaps unaware that not running ads was part of Pabst's marketing strategy for holding on to its anti-consumerist consumers. Pabst never set out to become a hipster beer -- a ploy like that would have backfired -- but once the company discovered its new audience, it began sponsoring bike polo tournaments, art galleries and indie publishers. The strategy wasn't just economical; it was essential. Pabst reached its niche drinkers without a massive ad campaign that would have caused them to discard it as a sellout. It worked on the skater, who lifted his shirt to show Walker his Pabst back tattoo.

"Pabst is part of my subculture," he declared.

But if Pabst drinkers are trying to drink their way to solidarity with the working class, they've chosen the wrong beer, Walker suggests.

"PBR's blue-collar, honest-working-man image, vaguely anticapitalist image -- the image attached to it by consumers -- is a sham," he writes. "You really couldn't do worse in picking a symbol of resistance to phony branding."

As "Buying In" points out, "Pabst shuttered its Milwaukee brewery, eliminating nearly 250 jobs and touching off a legal battle over pension obligations to former workers."

So can a patriotic American -- or an Americana-loving hipster -- still get a cheap buzz off a classic, domestic lager? Yes, but only if he lives in the right place. Now that Bud has been sold, the remaining domestic macro-brews could fit inside a six-pack sampler. And with one exception, they're local beers.

Genesee Cream Ale is still brewed in Rochester, N.Y. In nearby Utica, Matt Brewing will sell you a keg of Utica Club. Nothing remains of the Grain Belt Brewery save this kitschy sign, but the beer is produced in Minnesota, by Schell, which bought the brand in 2002. Iron City Beer was briefly owned by an Australian company, then snatched back by Pittsburghers who went bankrupt and sold out to a Connecticut equity fund manager. OK, he's an American. New England favorite Narragansett ("Hi, neighbor, have a 'Gansett!") was recently revived by a nostalgic Rhode Islander, who bought the rights from Pabst -- and hired a brewmaster from the old plant in Cranston.

Then there's Shiner Bock. For most of its century-long existence, it was only sold within 75 miles of central Texas' tiny town of Shiner. Then the beloved brewery was purchased by a San Antonio millionaire, who's made it available in 45 states. But it's a bock, not a traditional lager. Shiner Bock arrived in Chicago late last year. So I drank some. It went down like flat cola, and left a smoky, tangy scum on my tongue, which I could still taste the next morning.

So the title of Next Great American Lager has to go to … Yuengling. Yuengling has been making beer in Pottsville, Pa., since 1829. It's the oldest brewery in the United States. After all these years, it's still owned by a guy named Yuengling, and he intends to keep it.

"We just never chose to divest ourselves of it," said Dick Yuengling Jr. Yuengling has been courted by beer-making giants, but selling out would mean closing the brewery, and "there's not a lot of employment here. We're loyal to the area."

Yuengling is also cheap. You can get a case of premium for $14.35 at Riverside Beverages in Pottsville. (But hurry. That's a sale price.)

I have only one reservation about handing this crown to Yuengling. I've never had a Yuengling. The beer is available in only 10 states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. To verify Yuengling's quality, I called a friend who used to tend bar in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.

"It's a little richer and deeper than Bud or Coors," he said. "It's got a little more body. It's halfway between a craft beer and a production beer. It's still a lager, so it's got that crisp, uni-dimensional taste. I'd drink a Yuengling before I'd drink a Bud or a Miller or a Busch."

Dick Yuengling sees an opportunity in the Bud sale. He's been getting e-mails from outraged American beer drinkers, promising to switch. "We probably will start touting the fact that we're 100 percent family-owned and an American lager," he said. But that doesn't mean he'll bring Yuengling to your local bar. He saw how beers like Ballantine and Carling bankrupted themselves by trying to go nationwide. Same with Coors, whose foray east of the Mississippi had the collateral damage of making the plot of "Smokey and the Bandit" incomprehensible to modern viewers.

So if your image as an American depends on drinking a cheap domestic lager, you don't have too many options. You can move to New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota or Rhode Island. Or you can drink a Pabst. It's as American as possible, under the circumstances.

Of course, Pabst's bid to become the President of Beers could end up alienating its hipster clique. But if Pabst's marketers are as savvy about that crowd as they've been so far, they're probably saying, "So what?" No product stays hip forever, and at 7 years old, the Pabst boomlet is reaching a generational breaking point.

Plus, if you were Pabst, which audience would you rather have: fickle, broke young people, or mainstream beer drinkers likely to stick with the brand the rest of their lives? The hipster revival bumped Pabst sales to 1.6 million barrels a year. Bud and Bud Light combined sell over 65 million. If Pabst can steal even 5 percent of that market, it will triple its profits. And the hipsters will have to find another cheap, semi-obscure beer. When they do, odds are it will be owned by Pabst.

During the 1990s, while wandering in the pre-hipster wilderness, Pabst bought up dozens of other fermented oldies acts like itself, those iconic American brands the Web site brags about. Like Pabst, they were going flat in VFW taps across the nation -- Stag and Old Style, Olympia and Schlitz, and on and on. Every single one of these Ford Tauruses of beerdom has the same lack of charisma, the same downscale kitsch appeal that made Pabst ripe for rediscovery by hipsters. Any one of them is unexceptional enough -- and cheap enough -- to be the next Pabst. I haven't had a Blatz in the longest time, have you?

Frazod
06-07-2010, 10:24 AM
If I couldn't afford good beer, I just wouldn't drink.

I can't remember the last time I drank something from AB or Miller/Coors.

Sam Adams, New Belgium and Bell's get my money, as far as domestics go.

I can still drink Michelob, but that's it. And it's nearly impossible to find up here except for liquor grocery stores, and if I'm there buying beer, I'm not there for Michelob.

Lzen
06-07-2010, 10:24 AM
...Americans are just starting to realized that Bush, Bud light, miller, coors, etc is truly horrible beer. Most beer drinkers have known this for a decade.

I would say that about 6 or 7 years ago is when I started getting into good (craft) beers. And that was because of this place mainly. Most of my friends and family still drink traditional big American beers. I just like something with good flavor. And I figure if I can afford it, why not. I usually pay about $13-$14 per 12 pack, but its worth it.

Lzen
06-07-2010, 10:26 AM
If I couldn't afford good beer, I just wouldn't drink.

I can't remember the last time I drank something from AB or Miller/Coors.

Sam Adams, New Belgium and Bell's get my money, as far as domestics go.

Pretty much my opinion as well. Although I would put Sierra Nevada in place of Bell's. Never tried Bell's.

OnTheWarpath58
06-07-2010, 10:26 AM
I can still drink Michelob, but that's it. And it's nearly impossible to find up here except for liquor grocery stores, and if I'm there buying beer, I'm not there for Michelob.

Hell, it's become nearly impossible to find HERE, Tim.

Seriously.

With the advent of Ultra, I rarely if ever see regular Michelob, and it's 50/50 to see Michelob Light.

You pretty much have to go to a large/specialty liquor store to find them.

Reaper16
06-07-2010, 10:26 AM
People attribute irony as the cause of PBR-love amongst hipsters but I think there are bigger factors at play: 1.) The cost is cheap, 2.) It is vaguely anti-establishment in that it isn't as popular as Bud, Miller, Coors, etc - in the way that hipsters themselves are vaguely and weakly anti-establishment, 3.) Fashion - retro is in; PBR is retro and along with that is 4.) Nostalgia. "Yard Beers" like PBR, Hamm's, Old Style, Schlitz are the beers that their grandfathers were drinking. There is something to be said for that.

OnTheWarpath58
06-07-2010, 10:28 AM
Pretty much my opinion as well. Although I would put Sierra Nevada in place of Bell's. Never tried Bell's.

I enjoy SN, I'm just hooked on those 3 for the money.

Bell's is a bit of a treat at $10 a six, but the other two you can regularly get for $7.

Lzen
06-07-2010, 10:29 AM
OTW,
Have you tried Sam Adams Imperial White? It comes in a 4 pack and costs about $10, but it is wonderful.

NewChief
06-07-2010, 10:30 AM
People attribute irony as the cause of PBR-love amongst hipsters but I think there are bigger factors at play: 1.) The cost is cheap, 2.) It is vaguely anti-establishment in that it isn't as popular as Bud, Miller, Coors, etc - in the way that hipsters themselves are vaguely and weakly anti-establishment, 3.) Fashion - retro is in; PBR is retro and along with that is 4.) Nostalgia. "Yard Beers" like PBR, Hamm's, Old Style, Schlitz are the beers that their grandfathers were drinking. There is something to be said for that.

That's a pretty good summation, I think. There's also a sort of working class vibe to it (that goes along with the fashion thing).

chiefsnorth
06-07-2010, 10:31 AM
I've gone from quantity to quality. In college, we'd buy as much beer as we could for the money, regardless of taste or quality. Usually that meant Grain Belt, or 905, or Carling Black Label, or Weideman's, or Shaefer, or Red White and Blue. If we splurged we'd buy Busch in longneck bottles.

Now I like Boulevard Wheat, or Bass Ale or Newcastle Brown, or Modelo Dark, depending on what we're having for dinner. Fewer beers, but much better beers.

I can still choke down a Bud at the ballpark, but I haven't bought a six pack of Bud for a long time. My wife drinks Coors Light, but that's like kiddie beer. It's not even beer, really.

Grain Belt is as good as any of that big budget piss they sell with talking dogs. Enjoy it.

I you travel out of country you come back to the USA realizing how terrible American beers are. Of course the mass-produced stuff, but even the microbrews do not compare to the quality of everyday drinkers across the pond.
Posted via Mobile Device

Frazod
06-07-2010, 10:32 AM
Hell, it's become nearly impossible to find HERE, Tim.

Seriously.

With the advent of Ultra, I rarely if ever see regular Michelob, and it's 50/50 to see Michelob Light.

You pretty much have to go to a large/specialty liquor store to find them.

We tried some of the Michelob Light Lime, and for a light beer, it's actually not horrible. As opposed to pretty much all the rest of them.

Reaper16
06-07-2010, 10:33 AM
I you travel out of country you come back to the USA realizing how terrible American beers are. Of course the mass-produced stuff, but even the microbrews do not compare to the quality of everyday drinkers across the pond.
Posted via Mobile Device\
That is unequivocally false. The United States of America is producing the best beer in the world right now.

OnTheWarpath58
06-07-2010, 10:57 AM
OTW,
Have you tried Sam Adams Imperial White? It comes in a 4 pack and costs about $10, but it is wonderful.

No, but I found a steakhouse that serves Noble Pils right before I had knee surgery, and I loved it.

Today is literally the first day I'll be allowed to drive in a month, I may go try to find some of both.

gblowfish
06-07-2010, 11:02 AM
Grain Belt is as good as any of that big budget piss they sell with talking dogs. Enjoy it.

I you travel out of country you come back to the USA realizing how terrible American beers are. Of course the mass-produced stuff, but even the microbrews do not compare to the quality of everyday drinkers across the pond.
Posted via Mobile Device
Grain Belt is brewed in New Ulm, Minnesota by Schell Brewery. It's one of the old family brewers left in the USA, along with Genesee Beer in NY and Shiner Beers in Texas:
http://www.grainbelt.com/home.php
http://www.geneseebeer.com/
http://www.shiner.com/

Saccopoo
06-07-2010, 11:36 AM
Well, hardy fucking har.

I'm hipper than the dickwad hipsters, as I've been monkey drunk on Yuengling more times than I care to admit. (Ex-wife's family was in Pennsylvania and I often summer at Hilton Head, SC, and drank/drink the "Y" nearly exclusively when there.)

KCChiefsMan
06-07-2010, 11:38 AM
good read. Make sure you know what company you are buying from. Anheuser Busch disguises their beer nowadays. It'll saying "Blue Dog Brewing Co." or many other companies that you never heard of, but they are Anheuser-Busch. BS Tactics if ya ask me.

You guys should check out Beer Wars, it was a pretty good documentary about little beer companies trying to out-market the big companies.

Saccopoo
06-07-2010, 11:48 AM
\
That is unequivocally false. The United States of America is producing the best beer in the world right now.

Reaper, if you ever have the displeasure of being in Colorado Springs, I'd suggest trying the Phantom Canyon pub. Pretty darned good beer. Their seasonal barleywine is usually exceptional.

They also make a lot of pretty decent beers here on the face of the Wasatch mountains.

Uintah is distributed around nationally and makes the claim that they are 100% powered by wind energy.

http://www.uintabrewing.com/Default.aspx

http://www.wasatchbeers.com/beers.html

And I just noticed that a local bar had Boulevard on tap, which was a very nice surprise as I haven't had it since moving away from Kansas City in 1993.

kindra68
06-07-2010, 12:22 PM
when in a bar, coors light is easy
when at home it’s whatever is in the beer fridge. right now it’s a combo of American Ale, Belgium Wit, Boston Red, Mexican Style, Cherry Wheat, Lemon Weiss and something else I can’t think of right now.

Pablo
06-07-2010, 12:29 PM
I'll pretty much drink any beer if I'm out. BL, Busch, Miller...whatever. All serves the end goal of getting drunk.

If a bar has $1 PBR cans, you can bet your ass I'm drinking PBR. Only a couple bars in the Joe I go to serve PBR, and last time I was at the Buff they charged me $2 for a can. Fuck that noise.

Blvd's Pale Ale is my one true love. Nothing better than supporting a local brewery with a fantastic product.

BIG_DADDY
06-07-2010, 12:35 PM
I am an Amber Ale guy and drink Alaskan Amber more than not. Went to a graduation party this weekend and they had a keg of coors light. I found a few shots of tequilia but that and water was all I had. I do not like the piss water we serve here at all. I do love trying different brews from Belgium.

BIG_DADDY
06-07-2010, 12:39 PM
BTW, Anderson Valley Brother David's Triple is the bomb but at $6.50 a bottle I don't drink it that much.

Saccopoo
06-07-2010, 12:41 PM
I am an Amber Ale guy and drink Alaskan Amber more than not. Went to a graduation party this weekend and they had a keg of coors light. I found a few shots of tequilia but that and water was all I had. I do not like the piss water we serve here at all. I do love trying different brews from Belgium.

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/wsawdon/www/anchor.steam.jpeg

http://www.all4beer.com/a4b/components/com_fireboard/uploaded/images/usbrewery_7.jpg

MOhillbilly
06-07-2010, 01:01 PM
i like cheap beer and i like expensive beer. mostly i like beer. I drink whats cheap for the most part and enjoy it.
to look at my shop door and all that money i pissed away in the yard on 'craft' beers. good lord. retarded.

Pablo
06-07-2010, 01:03 PM
i like cheap beer and i like expensive beer. mostly i like beer. I drink whats cheap for the most part and enjoy it.Pretty much.

Shit, I rarely drink beer when I'm at home or out anyways. Beer is my "slow down, you're getting way too hammered and it's only 9:30" drink. Or if I'm on the river.

I just stick with Jim Beam. Doesn't give me headaches or bubble gut.

BIG_DADDY
06-07-2010, 01:05 PM
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/wsawdon/www/anchor.steam.jpeg

http://www.all4beer.com/a4b/components/com_fireboard/uploaded/images/usbrewery_7.jpg

Anchor Steam is great!!!!:thumb:

Saulbadguy
06-07-2010, 01:28 PM
Anchor Steam is great!!!!:thumb:

This, I agree with, 100 percent!

:clap:

Saulbadguy
06-07-2010, 01:29 PM
It really is about cost to me (despite what the article says). Budweiser is way, way, way overpriced for what it is. Of course PBR and Old Style are now becoming overpriced as well due to their hipster cred. I'd drank Old Style bottles for about 10 years as my easy drinking beer of choice. I could get them for around $3.50 a six pack. Now they're up to almost $5 a six pack. No thanks. I'll spend a little extra and get something better, or I'll go bottom dollar and get something cheaper.

Old Style had to be the most vile, nasty brew i've ever tasted.

The Bud/Coors/Miller hatred has its place, but I do consider those beers drinkable. They aren't good, but I don't gag when I drink them.

Old Style nearly makes me gag. It is just awful.

NewChief
06-07-2010, 01:30 PM
Old Style had to be the most vile, nasty brew i've ever tasted.

The Bud/Coors/Miller hatred has its place, but I do consider those beers drinkable. They aren't good, but I don't gag when I drink them.

Old Style nearly makes me gag. It is just awful.

Weird. I prefer it to most beers that cost under $7 a six pack.

shitgoose
06-07-2010, 02:15 PM
Back in highschool all we drank was Keystone Light or The Beast. "30 Stones" were like 11 bucks plus tax. The last time I tried one I threw up in my mouth a little.

Right now I've got some 312 Wheat and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in the fridge. I'm going on a float trip this weekend and you can't have glass on the river. Not sure what I'll be drinking. Probably regular bud in a 16oz can
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Lonewolf Ed
06-07-2010, 02:22 PM
I've gone from quantity to quality. In college, we'd buy as much beer as we could for the money, regardless of taste or quality. Usually that meant Grain Belt, or 905, or Carling Black Label, or Weideman's, or Shaefer, or Red White and Blue. If we splurged we'd buy Busch in longneck bottles.

Now I like Boulevard Wheat, or Bass Ale or Newcastle Brown, or Modelo Dark, depending on what we're having for dinner. Fewer beers, but much better beers.

I can still choke down a Bud at the ballpark, but I haven't bought a six pack of Bud for a long time. My wife drinks Coors Light, but that's like kiddie beer. It's not even beer, really.

I was in Denmark in May and the first part of June. I was horrified while beer shopping to find six pack of tall boy cans of Coors Light in one store. Some unsuspecting Dane is going to buy that and being used to substantive beers, I fear he will get a case of the runs so bad he could shit on a screen door and not hit any metal.

Lzen
06-07-2010, 03:27 PM
No, but I found a steakhouse that serves Noble Pils right before I had knee surgery, and I loved it.

Today is literally the first day I'll be allowed to drive in a month, I may go try to find some of both.

I wasn't all that impressed with the Noble Pils. Maybe I'm just not a big pilsner guy.

Lzen
06-07-2010, 03:29 PM
...You guys should check out Beer Wars, it was a pretty good documentary about little beer companies trying to out-market the big companies.

Got that in my Netflix instant queue.

OnTheWarpath58
06-07-2010, 04:11 PM
I wasn't all that impressed with the Noble Pils. Maybe I'm just not a big pilsner guy.

Noble Pils and New Belgium's Blue Paddle are probably my favorites right now.

But that's only because I haven't had a Bell's Two-Hearted or Oberon in over 6 weeks.

:D

BIG_DADDY
06-07-2010, 04:14 PM
Noble Pils and New Belgium's Blue Paddle are probably my favorites right now.

But that's only because I haven't had a Bell's Two-Hearted or Oberon in over 6 weeks.

:D

What style is the Blue Paddle?

DaFace
06-07-2010, 04:16 PM
Title should be "The Death of SHITTY Beer." The market for good beer is doing just fine.

vailpass
06-07-2010, 04:18 PM
I'm proud to say I do more than my share to keep the American beer brewers in business. I also subsidize the Canadian whiskey business but have cut way back on my support for the Mexican liqour industry.

DaFace
06-07-2010, 04:18 PM
What style is the Blue Paddle?

Pilsner. Which it's actually my least favorite NBB beer.

OnTheWarpath58
06-07-2010, 04:21 PM
What style is the Blue Paddle?

Pilsner. Not my favorite of NB's stuff, (still solid, IMO) but what I tend to drink more of in the summer.

OnTheWarpath58
06-07-2010, 04:22 PM
You fucking guys and your reposts...

:doh!:

DaFace
06-07-2010, 04:25 PM
good read. Make sure you know what company you are buying from. Anheuser Busch disguises their beer nowadays. It'll saying "Blue Dog Brewing Co." or many other companies that you never heard of, but they are Anheuser-Busch. BS Tactics if ya ask me.

You guys should check out Beer Wars, it was a pretty good documentary about little beer companies trying to out-market the big companies.

It's a decent watch from an informational standpoint. The chick who produced it should have hired a narrator though.

Regarding the "disguises," Coors is the worst at it. Blue Moon has been wildly successful for them in that regard, and they just launched a locally-targeted brew called "Colorado Native." No where on the web site or packaging does it even mention Coors.

OnTheWarpath58
06-07-2010, 04:25 PM
It's a decent watch from an informational standpoint. The chick who produced it should have hired a narrator though.

I am quoting this post to show my agreement.

Detoxing
06-07-2010, 04:27 PM
Im falling in love with the Champagne of beers. I can pick up up 3-32oz bottles for under 6 bucks at the local store.

Cheap buzz FTW!

NewChief
06-07-2010, 04:28 PM
Im falling in love with the Champagne of beers. I can pick up up 3-32oz bottles for under 6 bucks at the local store.

Cheap buzz FTW!

I've had my days with high life for sure.

BIG_DADDY
06-07-2010, 04:55 PM
Im falling in love with the Champagne of beers. I can pick up up 3-32oz bottles for under 6 bucks at the local store.

Cheap buzz FTW!

Hell wine has fallen out of favor lately. I can get $30 bottles of awesome red at Grocery Outlet for $6.99 right now. Way, way WAYYYYYYYYYYY better than than that crap. Better buzz too Mr. Detox.