Pabst Blue Ribbon: Russians Buy America’s Iconic ‘Hipster Beer’ PBR

Say it ain’t so! Pabst Blue Ribbon has fallen into Russian hands? Could you repeat that for me, please?

Yes, Pabst Blue Ribbon has fallen into Russian hands.

Perhaps wondering if baseball and apple pie will be next, beer drinkers across America are slowly absorbing the crushing news that the iconic piece of beer drinking Americana, Pabst Blue Ribbon, is going the way of Edward Snowden, abandoning the U.S. in favor of Russia.

Pabst beer ad 1911
Pabst Blue Ribbon has long been a part of American social life, as evidenced by this ad from 1911.

Recently gathering a reputation for being a “hipster” beer, the 170-year-old Pabst Blue Ribbon let it be known Thursday night that they’d been bought by Oasis Beverages, a six-year-old beer and soft drink company based in Moscow and operating out of Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine, reports the Huffington Post.

Along with Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, its fellow Pabst Brewing Company comrades, Lone Star, Schlitz, Old Style, Colt 45, National Bohemian, and Rainier, will also be under Russian control.

Eugene Kashper, the chairman of Oasis Beverages, shared his enthusiasm for his Russian company’s purchase, citing many of the brand’s distinctly American characteristics as its greatest strengths.

“Pabst Blue Ribbon is the quintessential American brand — it represents individualism, egalitarianism and freedom of expression — all the things that make this country great. The opportunity to work with the company’s treasure trove of iconic brands, some of which I started my career selling, is a dream come true.”

Pabst Brewing Company was formerly owned by C. Dean Metropoulos, a billionaire investor, along with his sons, Evan and Darren.

For years, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer seemed to be suffering the same fate as other previously popular American beers like Burgie, Hamms, and Olympia, with poor sales and declining advocates. But led by the Metropoulos boys, PBR’s popularity exploded, as did its sales numbers. From 2004 to 2013, sales grew exponentially, and in 2013 Americans put away 90 million gallons of Pabst Blue Ribbon. That’s a lot of aluminum and red plastic cups!

Pabst baseball concession stand
A Pabst concession stand at Progressive field in Cleveland seems to mourn, perhaps having heard the news that Pabst was sold to a Russian company.

Though the exact purchase price for Pabst was not disclosed, the Wall Street Journal speculates the price to be in the $700 to $750 million dollar range.

Pabst Blue Ribbon follows in the footsteps of another major American brewer that was as deeply sewn into the fabric of Americana as George Washington and the Fourth of July: Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser. Long a staple in bars and pubs around the world, Budweiser is now owned by a Brazilian-Belgium conglomerate called AB InBev. Coors also jumped the American ship in 2005, turncoating Colorado for Canada to team up with Molson and form the Molson Coors Brewing Company.

But while Budweiser, Coors, and now Pabst Blue Ribbon have all fallen under foreign ownership, there are still some truly American Beers out there, including the Boston Brewery, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium. Cheers!

Images via Facebook and Wikipedia