The Hipster Apocalypse has been averted! The rumors of PBR’s death have been greatly exaggerated. On Wednesday (11.29) Pabst struck a deal with their contract brewers to continue producing the popular volume beer ending a potential existential threat to the Blue Ribbon.
Said contract brewer just so happens to be megalith MillerCoors. The beer giant has been brewing PBR for Pabst (who no longer has their own brewery) since 1999. However, in 2016, MillerCoors notified Pabst that they intended to stop brewing PBR in 2020, citing a lack of facilities to keep up with demand.
Pabst countered that the move was in breach of a contract that obligated MillerCoors to continue the relationship until 2025. They posited that the move was intended to stifle competition from PBR (reported to be fifth in overall volume beer sales nationwide by the Brewers Association.) Not only that, Pabst countered, losing their brewer would force the entire PBR brand into going out of business altogether!
As is often the case with these cases, the dispute ultimately landed in court. In fact, an entire nine day trial played out. But, while the jurors at Milwaukee County Circuit Court were deep into their second day of deliberations, lawyers for both sides rushed to the judge and announced that a deal was struck.
“The parties have amicably resolved all outstanding issues in the case,” Pabst said in a statement, noting that it 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.”
Neither side chose to reveal any details of the settlement. So, we simply know that PBR is not going out of business and MillerCoors is no longer being sued.
It’s not just PBR that was in jeopardy. College kids will be happy to know that PBR’s “legacy brands” like Old Milwaukee, Lone Star, and Natty Boh were all included in the deal.