Out With the Old

Awesome photo from abstruse visage

My alert beer-drinking friend Kenny found this news that I am upset by, as you should be.

Old Style, as Schlitz has recently done, is going back to their traditional brewing practices in order to elevate their brand from delicious discount beer, to mediocre “premium” brand beer.  Via the Suntimes:

Old Style going old school
KRAUSENING | Resumes brewing process it used for 9 decades
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January 14, 2009

BY CHERYL V. JACKSON cjackson@suntimes.com
Old Style. Literally.

The beer brand familiar to generations of Chicagoans is returning to a process it started with in the 1900s and abandoned in the ’90s. 

Old Style is re-employing krausening fermentation — a traditional German process — will provide a smoother finish, the company says.
(Sun-Times file)

Re-employing krausening fermentation — a traditional German process — will provide a smoother finish, the company says.

“It’s something our longtime consumers have asked us to take a look at,” said Kevin Kotecki, president of Woodridge-based Pabst Brewing Co., which acquired the brand in 1999.

The brewing change will push Old Style into the more costly premium category of Coors, Miller and Budweiser. Among several brands Pabst has recently focused on propping, Old Style is now in a subpremium category with the likes of Busch, Keystone Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

The company will promote pub crawls and block parties to reach a target audience of 20-something Midwesterners who grew up seeing the brand at family gatherings, said Senior Brand Manager Keith Hill.

It’s actually an interesting idea.  Being from Chicago where Old Style once held the majority of the market share, I DO remember the can all around family gatherings.  But this still upsets me for a few reasons:

  • I drink Old Style because I like the taste.  Everyone needs a “staple” beer — a beer with body and taste but not overwhelming… this is what I demand from a classic American pilsner, and this is what Old Style is.
  • I also drink it because it’s affordable (and affordability makes it taste even better).  I choose it over PBR because Pabst has gone from a sub-premium brand to some sort of hipster calling card which I hope not to be attached to.
  • Within the last year the cost of Old Style has risen from about 10.99 for a 30 pack to 13.99.  Not a wallet-buster but still annoying.
  • Within the last year Old Style has discontinued the 30-pack in favor of the 24.
  • PBR however, still sells 30-packs which now seem to be a better deal than Old Style.

All this means I’m in search for a new good, cheap beer.  I’m thinking… Tecate?  I could always slink down into Mountain Creek, but I simply can’t bring myself to do it.

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