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Beermaker Pabst moves to L.A.

Adam Popescu Sep 5, 2011
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Steve Chiotakis: I suspect many a holiday reveler will tip back a beer or two today at the backyard barbecue. And for brewers, capturing a large market share is big business. For the new owners of Pabst Blue Ribbon — PBR as we know it — moving its headquarters from suburban Chicago to Los Angeles fits in with the company’s market strategy — and convenience.

Adam Popescu reports.


Adam Popescu: Privately held Pabst was bought last year by Dean Metropoulos. He’s made a career — and a fortune — reviving older brands like Bumble Bee tuna and Chef Boyardee. His two sons, now Pabst co-owners, and new CEO John Cochran, all lived in L.A. at the time of the purchase.

John Cochran: We sat down and talked about it and decided that both for us personally and as well as for the business, Los Angeles would be a better place.

L.A., of course, means celebrities, and one strategy for boosting sales is star-powered endorsements. In April, Pabst signed rapper Snoop Dogg as the pitchman for a new malt liquor by Colt 45.

Beverage analyst Tim McPeak says too many celebrity endorsements risk alienating core consumers, like the hipsters who’ve adopted the company’s iconic Pabst Blue Ribbon brand.

Tim McPeak: My concern would be, is that it’s going to backfire. Some of the things that are appealing about their brand is the fact that it isn’t heavily advertised.

However the strategy plays out, the move makes sense in terms of potential customers. Los Angeles ranks second in the number of beer drinkers nationwide.

In Los Angeles, I’m Adam Popescu for Marketplace.

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