Pabst Blue Ribbon – my beer, your beer, America’s beer – is now in the hands of the Russians.
In broad daylight the other day, a Russian brewery – Oasis Beverages – wandered within our borders and bought those red-white-and-blue PBR cans for $700 million, cash.
It should be noted that an American private equity firm, TSG Consumer Partners, is backing Oasis, with a minority stake. How is this not grounds for treason?
The Brooklyn Nets are one thing. But this cannot stand, comrades.
As longtime Ohio reader Eddie Vidmar wrote me, “I thought it was Pabst BLUE Ribbon, not Pabst Red Menace.”
What, now a brew is a brewski?
From where I’m sitting – which is within arm’s reach of my remote and my smartphone with speed dial to the National Security Council – it appears that Russian expansionist ambitions are veering out of control and in severe need of special-ops attention.
(Call me crazy, but Oasis’ PBR incursion appears to be part of Vladimir Putin’s master plan to take over the world. If Budweiser gives Roger Goodell too much trouble, Putin-Pabst swoops in to steal the NFL TV sponsorship, otherwise known as “the keys to the kingdom.”)
Indeed, this appears to be a new Cold War, and it’s being fought on the sacred soil beneath our finest suds.
I now regret the many times in my life when I had a beer and a shot in which I ordered a shot of vodka.
So now I must bid adieu – or should I say “ da svi-DA-ni-ya” – to my beloved PBR.
To be honest, PBR and I have been on somewhat shaky ground of late.
First of all, the previous sale of Pabst, in 2010, took the company’s headquarters from Milwaukee to Los Angeles. Los Angeles? PBR belongs in L.A. like a moose head belongs in a nail salon. And once they came to L.A. – my accidental home of the past 22 years – do you think I even got a courtesy call?
“Hey, Norm, this is Dean Metropoulos, new Pabst CEO. You’ve gotta be our biggest non-paid endorser – why not stop by for a PBR in a can and some kale?”
Second of all, in recent years PBR became hip. I am decidedly, uh, un-hip. The only time you’ll see my name and the word “hip” in the same sentence is, “Couch Slouch fell out of his beanbag chair and sprained his hip.”
Alas, this is the second time my beer cart has been overturned by big business.
As some of you may recall, Rolling Rock was my un-hip hops of choice for many, many years, until the tyrannical, despotic overlords of Anheuser-Busch bought ‘em in 2006 and closed the longtime Latrobe, Pennsylvania, brewery.
I then had an ill-fated, fleeting fling with Shiner Bock – I blame that on Prozac – before happily settling upon PBR in 2007.
(PBR and Rolling Rock, oddly enough, had cinematic common ground, in two of the best war films of all time. In 1970’s “M*A*S*H,” the surgeons drank PBR, and in 1978’s “The Deer Hunter,” the Vietnam War-bound buddies favored Rolling Rock.)
So where do I turn now?
I briefly considered switching solely to red wine for my TV-sports viewing, but, as much as I like it, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico doesn’t pair well with J.J. Watt or J.R. Smith.
Rather, I’m going back to basics – a firm and steadfast beer, with Middle America sensibilities and nothing phony.
When I had searched for a Rolling Rock replacement, I asked my readers for suggestions. I was younger then, with a touch of hubris, and ignored their recommendation.
Seven years later, I now will embrace their No. 1 choice:
I am saying yes to Yuengling.
It’s smooth, it’s sincere and it’s America’s oldest brewery, operated in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, since 1829.
And I have a call in to the White House to get some troops on the ground along the west bank of the Schuylkill River, just in case Putin gets a notion.
Ask the Slouch
Q. Now that the NFL has agreed a player scoring a touchdown can pray in the end zone without drawing a penalty, if a Jewish player scores, can the rest of the offense join him so he can get a minyan? (Carl Kain; Fairfax, Virginia)
A. No – this actually would violate the NFL’s little-known “too many mensches on the field” rule.
Q. If Charles Manson ran for 4.2 yards a carry, would he have been suspended by Roger Goodell when he went to prison, or only upon the release of “Helter Skelter”? (Michael A. Becker; Clayton, Missouri)
A. Always nice to hear from one of the commissioner’s top legal advisors.
Q. Will the NFL be running out of players anytime soon? (Jim O’Brien; Racine, Wisconsin)
A. Not unless the SEC goes belly up.
Q. Just received a flyer in the Sunday paper on how to purchase an individually hand-numbered Johnny Manziel Danbury Mint Sculpture for $99, plus $7.95 shipping. Does that come with a bench? (Gary Mitrisin; South Euclid, Ohio)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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