Whiskey is bourbon’s little brother who has no patience, no rules, and no self-respect. Consequently, whiskey is always searching for the next big thrill: make it in Japan, age it in wine barrels, port barrels, plastic barrels, filter it, bury it, age it… or in this case, don’t.
Pabst Blue Ribbon, the eternal but not ethereal dive bar beer is apparently coming out with a whiskey. We deduce this because the Alcohol Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) requires producers of new alcoholic beverages to submit their labels far in advance of releasing a new product and the Pabst Blue Ribbon Whiskey label was recently submitted and approved.
In this case, nearly everything we know, except for what Pabst Brewing is NOT saying, we must discern from that label; let’s start:
With that iconic blue ribbon at the top-center of the label, PBR’s reputation as a low-end staple in the world of beer and the fact that they didn’t go for a new brand name, one imagines they have the same dream for this whiskey – a low-end dive bar whiskey to match its namesake beer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The label seems to draw heavily on their history and Jacob Best who founded the company in 1844. The nod to history and legacy stands in stark contrast to the next big eye-opener on the label:
“Aged 5 seconds”
Not generally a major selling point for ANY spirit, particularly whiskey or bourbon. Five seconds is barely long enough for the liquid to stop sloshing, so “aged” is something of a misnomer, regardless of where it is taking its rest.
This statement also begs the question – will it be a white whiskey? A white dog? Other than the mash bill right on the label, there is no other indication of where it would derive any color, so one assumes… But you know what they say about THAT.
Thrillist.com reports this tongue-in-cheek statement from Pabst concerning their aging process:
“We developed a mash bill and process that produces a flavorful craft whiskey, we loved the liquid as it was without aging. The law said it needs to be aged to be called whiskey, so we aged for the perfect time… five seconds… any more means people have to wait too long, any less and it wouldn’t be aged to perfection.”
No word yet on a release date and Pabst is just as parsimonious with details as they apparently are in their aging process.
It appears PBR will source their whiskey from Michigan’s New Holland Brewing, for this is the source of that label submitted to the TTB earlier this year. Pabst entered into a long-term contract with Holland in 2016 to distribute their beer through PBR’s sales channels. This would solidify and strengthen that bond.
Of late, some macro beer brands have been flirting with the idea of getting into the spirits industry. Anheuser Busch recently purchased San Diego, California based craft distillery Cutwater Spirits. Perhaps this is a direct response to that move?
In any case, we’re watching for this latest entry to whiskey world and we’ll let you know the minute it pops up.