Pabst Blue Ribbon bottles and cans proudly wave the red, white and blue, but some are saying that patriotism is more marketing whitewash than actual flag-waving. For quite a while, the brand has apparently been selling and making money off commemorative World War II cans (an odd idea for starters), but only selling those cans to the Chinese market (where our defeat of Japan during in 1945 is much lauded). Just watch the commercial above. It’s full of seemingly old war footage and seemingly fake post-battle beer crushing. According to a Brand Channel article:
“World War Two Edition in memory of US Army” reads the English on the side of a green Pabst Blue Ribbon can now on sale at select groceries in China. Under a stoic photo of a helmet-clad soldier’s face, the exclamation “Yes we can!” The “Yes we can!” cans come in a variety of U.S. Army soldiers, including grizzled guy on a beachhead, grizzled guy on a battlefield and grizzled guy introspectively looking heavenward as a (French?) town behind him burns.
Apparently, PBR is not a cheap hipster-beloved beer in China, like it is in America. According to the article, the brand has struggled to position itself alongside other beers such as Heineken, Budweiser, Kirin and others, which is probably why it’s pulling at the hate-strings of the Chinese market. While originally established in Milwaukee (starting in 1844), PBR is now based in Los Angeles, and it contract-brews in six different breweries around the United States in facilities owned by Miller Brewing Co. As far as where the WWII beer can is made, not much is known.
There is very little information about the beer online and few posts on social media. But it is not that new, either. While retailers have put it on shelves again probably to clear inventory, the first information about the beer dates back to late 2009, when a commercial (in Cantonese) was posted.