Let’s say you’re a guy who’s been drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon for many years. Maybe you’ve got a grudge against Anheuser-Busch. Maybe you actually prefer the taste of PBR. Probably you drink it because it’s cheap.
You may not know or care that Pabst is now a “virtual beer,” one of dozens of legacy brands owned by C. Dean Metropoulos, a billionaire who runs a private equity fund. Pabst isn’t brewed in Milwaukee any more. It’s headquartered in Los Angeles and brewed under contract in six different plants around the country.
But you don’t care. You’re just a little irked that it seems to be getting more expensive. And now a study by the food research firm Restaurant Sciences has confirmed it: Hipsters, who drink Pabst because it’s “ironic,” are driving up the price not only of PBR, but other “sub-premium” beers.
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“Ultra-premium” beer prices are up 1.8 percent. “Super-premium” beer is up 1 percent. “Premium beer” is up 3.6 percent. But sub-premiums are up 6.8 percent. Supply-and-demand is immutable.
Blame the tattooed kid in the skinny jeans on the stool next to you. As has been pointed out, he’s already ruined zombies and bacon. Now he’s ruined cheap beer.