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Pabst Blue Ribbon to be distributed in Australia

September 25, 2013
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The Australian beer market continues to get more interesting as we see the market mature and businesses developing their business models. So far this year we’ve seen Mountain Goat, with its ‘serious’ beer credentials, launching Summer Ale. It’s a beer that glancing longingly at some of the red-blooded flavour cues of craft, particularly in terms of hops aroma, while still managing to be a little anaemic if compared to Mountain Goat’s traditional offerings. That’s not the criticism it sounds, though I do wonder though whether the reaction would have been so positive had the beer, that so obviously targets volume and the widest possible audience, had been launched by Matilda Bay or James Squire rather than the doyen of craft breweries.

This maturing of the market that has seen a pragmatic approach to business by some breweries where volume is a goal, not extremes of flavour and beer geek cred. This is business. Even in the world of craft when you have a big loan, upwards of a dozen employees and a sales and distribution network, you need some regularity of cash flow and consistent volumes to make sure that you’re paying the bills each month.

We’re also seeing larger craft breweries engaged in a variety of business deals with venues designed to get their beers consistently on tap rather than being merely one of a number of rotating beers.

Anyway, it was interesting to see the release below announcing that McLaren Vale Beer Co, a company that seems to be much derided in some quarters regardless of the beers, has announced it will be distributing PBR in Australia.

For those who don’t know, Pabst is a fairly mainstream beer brand in the US that has come to be seen as the hipsters ironic beer choice. While other mainstream brands have seen sales fall, MSN reports that PBR volumes grew 25 per cent in 2009 with double digit growth since. In the sentence in the media release below saying medium “bodied American-style lager with a clear, pale-gold appearance, good carbonation and a refreshing balance of malt sweetness and hop flavours”, the sentence could could paired back to “refreshing” and still give an accurate impression.

With McLaren Vale also seeking to distribute US craft brands here, I asked Josh Stuart what the strategy was with PBR and he said that volume and portfolio diversity were the key.

There are a lot of beers out there in the market these days, and a lot of distributors, and its hard to get beers into venues,” he explained.

We have a national sales and distribution team and we’d like to have a wide range of beers, not just craft, to put before venues when we visit so that our portfolio can cater to a wide variety of audiences for them.”

It’s all about widening our end customer base.”

It will be interesting to see reactions to this move, not to mention the craft brands that will be balancing their import lines…[MK]

Media Release

McLaren Vale Beer Company brings Pabst Blue Ribbon to Australia

pbr_canMcLaren Vale Beer Company has agreed to distribute Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in Australia — one of the fastest growing American-style lagers in the US and a mainstay of American culture for more than 150 years.

Pabst Blue Ribbon has experienced double digit growth year on year in both the US retail and on-premise markets and McLaren Vale Beer Company is confident that it will have the same success in Australia, being a flavoursome hop-driven lager with plenty of refreshment for the warmer months ahead.

The acquisition of PBR for distribution in Australia forms part of McLaren Vale Beer Company’s wider brand strategy to diversify and offer exciting international brands that complement their current core portfolio.

This partnership has stemmed from some recent trips to the US that have further ignited our passion for great beer and the endless possibilities for the Australian market. The diversity and strength of the US market is totally inspiring and we thought what better way to share this than to bring some of these great brands to Australia”, said MVBeer’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Josh Stuart.

As part of an international brand program we intend to build a portfolio of imported premium beers to complement our core Vale craft range. This will also include the importation of craft beers that already enjoy a strong following and may also include some non-beer beverages. It’s a very exciting time”, said Mr Stuart.

Pabst Blue Ribbon is a medium bodied American-style lager with a clear, pale-gold appearance, good carbonation and a refreshing balance of malt sweetness and hop flavours.

The beer was first brewed in 1844 and has won more awards than any other beer. Most recently, Pabst won the title of best American-style lager at the Great American Beer Festival.

Pabst Blue Ribbon will be available in 473ml cans from October at Kemeny’s, Chippendale Cellars, Dan Murphy’s and other leading retailers.

Pabst Blue Ribbon / American style lager / 4.7% ABV.

For Sales enquiries please call 1300 MVBEER.

Ends

We are a South Australian Beer Company that brews a Gold Medal-winning portfolio of beers including,VALE/ALE, VALE/DRK and VALE/IPA, along with our newest addition VALE/LGR.

All our beers serve as approachable interpretations of established styles. They are designed to be enjoyed as you please, with or without food, in a glass or from the bottle — you choose. For best results we drink with a flavoursome meal, in excellent company, from a big glass after swirling.

Our Willunga Brewery is the ultimate playground for head brewer Jeff Wright to produce flavoursome and sessionable craft beers for the Australian market.

Our motto is BE SILLY / BE HONEST / BE KIND, a philosophy that flows into our whole business practice and shapes our attitude to making great craft beer.

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7 Responses to Pabst Blue Ribbon to be distributed in Australia

  1. Mitch on September 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Keen to try it, at 76 per case its up there thought. No competition i guess

  2. damo on September 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Mountain Goat summer ale is a boon for campers, travelling outback in a few weeks — first packed will be the esky with sufficient stock, later on Dr Tims will be the beverage of choice — not sure if MG distribution extends beyond major cities.

    • Mitch on September 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Did the same when i went bush, Dr tims was the only can options.

  3. James Davidson on September 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I feel that the generally positive reaction to the Mountain Goat Summer Ale release is purely directed at the fact it’s in a can (more importantly, a locally “traditional” 375ml can, as opposed to the 330ml variations).

    If the Summer Ale had been an addition to the Mountain Goat core bottled range, it may have suffered from beer-geek criticism that a similar (“not very crafty”) release from Matilda Bay or James Squire may endure. Therefore, I think the comparison is a little unfair, as it’s about the new-wave packaging, not the craft beer credentials.

    The market momentum for canned beers seems to be the emerging fad, driven by the hipster appeal as well as the rising quantity of canned craft beer releases in American. So I wonder if scoring a canned product is part of the real story behind MV’s distribution of PBR cans (since their media release only mentions cans)…? Maybe MV have preempted the oncoming canned (craft) beer explosion, acquired PBR to capatilsie on early interest across the local market, before the fad passes.

    And don’t get me wrong, it’s a fad that I fully support and welcome!

    No doubt, canned craft beers from Australian and NZ will be one of the hot stories for 2014.

    • Editor on September 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Interesting that cans are ‘new wave’! Even so, I find few people cheering saying, “hey great, JS Golden Ale in cans on Qantas’. Aroma aside, it in the same ballpark as Summer Ale.

      It wasn’t criticism, just a comment about the economic realities of craft brewing and growth.

      • James Davidson on September 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm

        Yeah, I should have written “new wave” with the inverted commas. Naturally, I’m speaking in respect to the craft beer segment on the market, where cans have not been common place. The term is ambiguous anyway, which new wave often referring to something that has evolved an old/former format, which is exactly what the broader craft beer industry seems to be doing to cans.

        As for JS Golden Ale in cans…I think the point there is that it’s only available on Qantas. It’s too limited to have a presence in related discussions, in the sense that you can’t buy it and it’s not consumed socially or in the way most beer is — at bars/pubs/homes.

        • Editor on September 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm

          But the criticism to JS Golden is of the beer not of its availability…I’d bet that a fair number of those who diss it as being a little boring (and I’m one of those!) would fist bump if they found Summer Ale on board in its place? I don’t know the answer to that but I do some inconsistency in approach.



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