More On Pabst -- and the "Great American Beer"

Ted McClelland is back at Salon with another look at American beer. Worth reading, especially to learn what Dick Yuengling has to say. HUGE relief to know that he's keeping his cool (and his common sense) in the face of all this "last American beer" hooha. (I weighed in on that a few weeks ago here.)

By the way, Ted's earlier Salon piece is here. For a contrarian view of Ted's piece, see Jay's take. Another reason why I love the guy! (Jay, not Ted.) (Although Ted is a nice guy, too.)

All of this, of course, brings to mind Pabst's most recent effort, namely a revival of Schlitz.

My quick take on that is this: Ooooh, boy.......... Are these people serious? ("These people," in this case, is the folks at the company known as Pabst Brewing Company. See my note *1 below.)

Okay, sure, I understand the logic behind the revival of the Pabst brand -- an "anti-marketing" campaign aimed at hipsters. (*2)

But marketing Schlitz as "the beer you remembered in your youth"?? Using the slogan "Your Schlitz is back"? Are they NUTS? Anyone who actually remembers Schlitz is, well, old. And statistically speaking, old people (and I'm one of them) don't drink much. (You can read about that here and here.)

Plus, I remember Schlitz from the 1970s -- and I remember it because it was foul, skunky crap. (*3) Second, anyone who remembers Schlitz from the 1960s (before the company screwed up the beer) is REALLY old. And drinks even less.

This is surely one of the great exercises in pointlessness. Although I guess it's a great example of precisely the kind of pointless exercise that make capitalism go 'round. (You know. Like altering the recipe for Cheez-Its or the ingredients of Tide so they can be marketed as "new.")

Anyway, my prediction? The new "old" Schlitz is doomed.

Okay, back to work. (Again, I'm laying low because I'm working on a new book.)


*1: By "Pabst," I mean the holding company (Kalmanovitz Family Trust) that owns and markets a bunch of old beer brands. It's not a brewing company; it's a marketing company that, well, markets beer. You can see the list by going here. After you've assured the website you're legal age, click on "Our Portfolio."

*2: By the way, Neal Stewart, the guy who concocted that now-legendary Pabst campaign, maintains a blog. He's currently working his magic at Flying Dog Brewery in Denver. (Although I gather he's also about to go to grad school.) (But wait. It's an MBA program. Shouldn't he be teaching MBA students, rather than being one of them?)

*3: Turns out I wasn't imagining it. As I explain in my book, in the 1970s, the brains at Schlitz tried to increase profits by slashing operating costs. Among other measures, they changed the beer's ingredients and altered the brewing process. The beer was undrinkable. The company imploded.