From high fashion brands such as Uniqlo, Zara and H&M, to food shops like Pizza Hut and Häagen-Dazs, China provides some mass market brands the opportunity to reposition themselves into luxury brands. Now Alan Kornhauser, a brewmaster who works for Pabst in China, told reporters the mass market beer brand – Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) – has also benefited from this type of transformation.
He said the PBR 1844, which launched in late 2009 exclusively for the Chinese market, is only consumed by wealthy Chinese as the enticing looking beer is priced at US$40 per bottle (720ml), compared with US$3.5 in the U.S..
How could that be possible?
Besides advertising boasting all the exotic elements such as malt from Germany and barrels from the U.S., PBR has a special strategy for the 1844 – it targets the less-educated, new Chinese rich, who are more willing to display their wealth by splurging.
While unbelieveable to foreigners, PBR actually has some qualifications for selling such an expensive beer. It entered China in 1993, the first foreign beer brewer in the country after 1949. It was also the best selling foreign beer in China throughout the 1990’s. Based in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province, PBR China now has over 14 product lines available in the Chinese market, including PBR Light, PBR black beer and PBR Golden Malted.
photo courtesy of blueribbon-beer