Category Archives: Pabst Brewing Co.

How PBR Got Its “Blue Ribbon” — and Its Modern Name

PBR Pabst Blue Ribbon Neon Sign

Pabst Blue Ribbon, a.k.a., PBR, the current beer of choice for angst-ridden hipsters and cheap alcoholics everywhere, got its “blue ribbon” and its modern name after winning the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair beer exposition, according to a blog post on

The beer, which was originally called Pabst Best Select, or PBS, had apparently been getting a lot of attention before the World’s Fair, and the brewer started tying ribbons onto the beer bottles to make them stand out. By 1900, Pabst was using more than a million feet of ribbon per year, according to the post. After winning best beer at the Chicago World’ Fair, the company changed its name.

I guess it makes sense that Pabst actually won a major award before it got its modern-day name, but I never really stopped to consider which one. Now I—and you—know.

The Smithsonian post is packed with additional details, so pop on over there for more information.


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