Beer Battle
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FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2018, file photo, cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Coors Light are stacked next to each other in a Milwaukee liquor store. MillerCoors and Pabst Brewing Co. settled a lawsuit Wednesday, Nov. 28, in which the hipster’s brand of choice claimed the bigger brewer lied about its ability to continue brewing Pabst's beers to put that company out of business. (AP Photo/Ivan Moreno, File)

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If you felt a ripple in the beerosphere last week, it was the collective sigh of relief from a certain segment of quittin’ time beers, and their legions of fans, nationwide.

It was a close one, but PBR is back from the brink.

Pabst Brewing Co. had been in a lengthy contract dispute with MillerCoors, the company that now produces its suds, and the two landed in court for a nine-day trial in November, with Pabst alleging the brewing behemoth was terminating, in bad faith, an agreement in place since 1999 that allowed PBR and its family of “subpremium” national and regional brews — including Old Milwaukee, Schmidt’s and its iconic Pabst Blue Ribbon — to keep quenching undemanding thirsts.

Neither party opted to release details about the settlement, which The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports will allow PBR to continue turning basement floors into fly paper for at least the foreseeable future.

Pabst will “continue to offer Pabst Blue Ribbon and the rest of our authentic, great tasting and affordable brews to all Americans for many, many years to come,” read a statement from the company.

I’ve had enough PBR to know I’d much rather have an IPA (or APA, pale ale, porter, stout, etc.), but faced with a summertime cooler of classic lagers, I’ll take it over its brethren.

There’s something about Big Beer’s scrappy little brother that makes it special.

Perhaps it’s the “blue ribbon” moniker, adopted after Pabst’s flagship recipe was named “America’s Best” at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. I appreciate anybody who can get that kind of mileage out of a win.

Or maybe it’s the hipster cachet, how PBR has managed to find a niche, and even a place in craft beer drinkers’ hearts, in a largely lager-challenged world.

Maybe it’s just history. Even after many, many years, in a future where only hard core cinephiles get the reference, PBR always will have “Blue Velvet.”

As Thrillist’s James Chrisman put it last week, in a nimble nod to the salty, sudsy exchange in David Lynch’s 1986 cult classic:

For now and “in short … PBR is saved, and we can keep quoting the greatest scene in movie history.”


Stephanie Earls is a news reporter and columnist at The Gazette. Before moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, she worked for newspapers in upstate NY, WA, OR and at her hometown weekly in Berkeley Springs, WV, where she got her start in journalism.

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