Sawadee-ka, PBR: ‘Iconic’ American beer arrives in Thailand, and we’ve got pics to prove it

‘Murica’s favorite low-end beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon — lovingly known by grandpas and hipsters alike as PBR — has landed in Thailand. Over the next few weeks, it will be available at several pop-up events before being rolled out to (we imagine dive) bars in cans and on tap.

If it takes off here, then you could be reaching into the cooler at your neighborhood 7-Eleven for a frosty tall boy sometime next year.

The first 56 cases arrived in the country last week and will be available over the next three weeks at art and music events.

Try PBR for the first time in Bangkok tonight at live music venue Parking Toys. The “First Taste in Thailand” promotion offers cans for THB80 from 7pm until late. Try it again on Saturday in Charoen Krung at Galeria Rosa’s Cities exhibition opening from 4-7pm, and later this month in Old Town at Cho Why gallery’s 4th anniversary party.

The new beer arrival is thanks to the guys at craft beer importer Beervana, who chose to import tall boys (pint cans) instead of the smaller standard cans since they find the tall can “iconic.” Which may sound kinda pretentious to people who are unfamiliar with the brand — but it actually is, at least to those who grew up knowing it as a quintessentially American brand and accessible booze for the everyman.

The distributors are looking forward to seeing how a Thai audience responds to the classic American brew. “We were so excited when we got the contract, we were shouting ‘PBR! PBR!’ and the Thai staff were like, ‘What’s PBR?” recalled Beervana’s Global Frontiers Director Chad Mitchell.

After the beer-loving staff checked Ratebeer and saw that PBR had a dismal rating — scoring just one point out of a possible 100 — they were even more confused about the new import.

“It tastes like beer pong and bad decisions,” Mitchell told Coconuts. Beervana co-founder Brian Bartusch jumped in to say, “The nostalgia and our legacy with PBR aside, it’s just an easy-drinking lager. I find Thai lagers a bit more bitter. PBR has a little less alcohol and is a little more sweet and smooth.”

Though the beer has wide distribution in China and parts of Europe, it’s a hard find in Southeast Asia, with the Beervana contract being the first large-scale Southeast Asian deal. A similar deal is already in the works for Vietnam.

The unmistakable logo has been spotted here and there in Singapore with the odd can popping up in a bottle shop, a few hipster bars stocking it, and sites selling six packs for SG$24 each online. But it has no real presence in other Southeast Asian nations.

Beervana usually deals only in coldchain craft beers, which are delicate beers that need to be shipped and stored cold since they are unpasteurized and have a short shelf life. PBR, unsurprisingly, can be left at room temperature for a year and half and still be fine to drink.

Since all of Beervana’s trucks and storage are cold, they proudly told the PBR reps that they’d be treating it as a coldchain beer. The reps told them that they should “be careful of f***ing it up, ’cause it’s never been treated so well before,” laughed Mitchell.

Cheers to one more ‘Murican tradition in Thailand, and a taste of home for those of us who need it.

As my stepfather used to say, “My red neck, my white sneakers, and my Pabst Blue Ribbon.”

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