Pabst Brewing Company: The Classic Revival of the 'Pabst Blue Ribbon' Brand

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG189 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Consumer Behavior/ Brand Management/ Marketing Management
Case Length : 15 pages
Period : 2001-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Pabst Brewing Company
Industry : Beer
Countries : USA


This case is about the dramatic brand revival of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), one of the classic American beer brands marketed by Pabst Brewing Company's (PBC).

The case revolves around how the sales of PBR increased despite any high-decibel promotional efforts from PBC's marketing team after declining consistently for more than two decades (from 1978 to 2001). The sales of PBR suddenly increased from the year 2001 onwards and continued to grow at a healthy pace till 2007. The revival of the brand was attributed to the marketing team who adopted unique strategies to create buzz around the brand.

While other beer brands concentrated on positioning and repositioning their brands through multi-million dollar promotional campaigns, PBC concentrated on enhancing their relationships with the sub-cultures that were driving the sales of PBR.

According to experts, the brand appealed to a section of the consumers who were distrustful of any kind of marketing communication and did not want to be manipulated by advertising campaigns. As of 2008, the challenge before PBC's marketing team was to drive growth further without compromising its cultural positioning.


Study the factors that had led to the revival of the PBR brand.

Understand the issues and challenges in reviving an old brand like PBR.

Understand how PBR was revived by gaining vital insights into consumer behavior and working with the sub-cultures that were driving the sales of PBR.

Understand how to market a product to the section of the consumers who distrust marketing communication.

Understand the importance of word of mouth marketing in promoting a product.


  Page No.
A Case for Authentic Marketing? 1
Background Note 2
Tracing the Comeback Trail 4
The Return of The Legend 6
The Way was The No Marketing Way 7
Who Owns the Brands, Any Way? 8
The Road Ahead 9
Exhibits 10


Consumer behavior, Sub-culture, Influencer marketing program, Branding, Brand revival, Consumer perceptions, Authentic marketing, Positioning, Cultural positioning, Brand hijack, Cult brand, Word-of-mouth advocacy, Word-of-mouth marketing, Buzz hub, Community, Anti-marketing, retrobranding, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pabst Brewing Company, Miller, Beer market, Anheuser-Busch, SABMiller, Coors, Budweiser

A Case for Authentic Marketing? - Next Page>>


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