In the U.S., Pabst Blue Ribbon (or PBR) is a cheap, unpretentious beer popular among hipsters. In China, it’s “Blue Ribbon 1844,” costs about $44 a bottle, and is called a “world-famous spirit.” It also comes in a funny bottle.
Chinese media blog Danwei found the above ad in a “respected biweekly business magazine” called Window of the South. That fancy-looking bottle all by itself in a dark room? It’s PBR, reborn as Blue Ribbon 1844 (well… kind of—see update below) and accompanied by some very flowery ad copy:
It’s not just Scotch that’s put into wooden casks. There’s also Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer 1844
Many world-famous spirits
Are matured in precious wooden casks
Scotch whiskey, French brandy, Bordeaux wine…
They all spend long days inside wooden casks
Uh-huh. 1844 is, of course, the year the Pabst Brewing Company was founded in Milwaukee. The New Yorker‘s Evan Osnos attributes the rebranding to China’s newfound use for alcohol as a “prime tool for conspicuous consumption,” and, of course, “the Chinese fondness for trophies and ribbons.” Here’s another poster, from the beer’s official website:
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