High-End PBR. In China.

It’s not often that PBR makes news in the US for any reason other than hipsters. The factory workers, the college cheap, and the mustachioed have made this a staple of American life. News of this type always flies under the radar.

Far East culture routinely picks up some of our bigger and wackier trends after the fact (see: Thin Elvis and blue jeans in the 70’s, anything 80’s…sometime last week). But we have now learned that China has jumped on the PBR bandwagon, NOW. Blue Ribbon Beer has now begun to produce a special recipe of PBR created by Alan Kornhauser, Pabst Brewmaster – Asia, targeted to the more discerning beer consumer. It will be sold under the name Blue Ribbon 1844, chosen to represent the year PBR opened its first brewery in Milwaukee.

I still like formulating specialty beers. In fact, with Pabst, I just made the first specialty beer in Mainland China. There’s almost no ale in China: I had to smuggle the yeast into the country. I formulated a special high-gravity ale called “1844.” It’s all malt, and we use caramel malts from Germany. The initial aging is dry-hopped rather heavily. Then we do a secondary aging in new uncharred American oak whiskey barrels. We bought 750 brand new barrels to the tune of $100,000. This is a very special beer; it’s retailing for about over $40 U.S. for a 720 ml bottle.

The current ad campaign has it billed as a “heritage classic breakthrough” and “a piece of art.”

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Brewmaster Kornhauser wanted to make something better, something special. He saw a region he felt could use a boost in its beer market and went out to conquer. Will the Chinese pay $44 for this brew? Unclear. Will Chinese beer drinkers, from the everyman to the nuveau-riche, like it? We actually hope so.

High-end Chinese PBR. Stateside soon?


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