Interesting to see reports on a back to the basics trend in beer buying by young-uns in the US:
Among the recent bright spots was the quirky story of Pabst, which caught on early this decade with young hipsters in Portland, Ore., and its popularity spread out. Without initial prompting, "PBR" became a symbol of authenticity and cool. It has been enjoying double-digit growth every year since 2003, said Pabst brand manager Neal Stewart. Consumers like these beers in part because they cost less than fancy imports or craft brews. They also can play on happy memories of simpler days - maybe of Granddad swigging a beer while barbecuing, said Darrell Jursa, managing partner with Liquid Intelligence, a Chicago marketing agency that has Pabst as a client.Utica Club and Rheingold from New York as well as Yuengling from Pennsylvania (the last of which I have reviewed) as also taking advantage of this trend, according to the article I link to above. Keith's beer, the IPA that isn't an IPA, with its heavy use of advertising and humour would be the Canadian version, I suppose, but it is also sold as a bit of a premium beer - another form of humour to anyone who grew up in Halifax.
Jursa also mentions that you are what you drink. Just like a club hopper ordering Grey Goose vodka could be signaling she's like the urban sophisticates of "Sex in the City," a Pabst drinker could be showing he is beyond the mainstream. The challenge for brewers is to tap into that anti-establishment streak without seeming too establishment. Pabst managed by tailoring marketing to its young drinkers. It sponsored skateboarding film premieres, Vespa scooter rallies and art gallery openings.