PBR Has Declared War on Decency With This Garbage Beverage

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The perennial problem facing the modern blogger: Should I make fun of this company’s bullshit marketing stunt that I hate? Or am I just doing their work for them by spreading the word? There’s no easy solution to this question, no hard-and-fast rule. The guiding principle, for me, is: Do you hate the thing enough to justify the risk that someone buys the product because of your blog?

Reader, here is a thing I hate enough: The Pabst Blue Ribbon ‘Hard Coffee,’ reported on today by NPR.

Here is a list of things I hate about it: I hate that PBR makes it. I hate that it’s not even shitty beer, it’s a shitty “malt beverage.” I hate that I’m reading about it on NPR, for some reason. I hate that it isn’t for sale in DC, so I can’t even hate-buy it and hate-drink it and hate-throw up. I hate my irony-addled soul, but I guess that’s not relevant here.


Lest you accuse me of snobbery, let me defend my reasoning. Before I stopped drinking because of migraines, I was not at all above drinking a malt liquor beverage, even though no one over the age of 19 should really be drinking those. Ask 26-year-old me what drink she’d most like to purchase, and I might wistfully tell you about the Smirnoff Ice Watermelon Mimosa flavor that I tried once before it was taken off the market. It was delightful, and a perfectly fine way to get drunk, which is what most people are trying to do when they drink and they should be a lot more honest about it. (If you weren’t trying to get drunk, you’d drink an actually nice drink like hot chocolate or Coke, wouldn’t you?)

Malt beverages like Mike’s Hard Lemonade are fine, if you’re trying to get a buzz on and don’t care about your sugar intake and are not in a position to just put some gin in some actual lemonade, which would taste so much better. However, I simply must draw the line at canned alcoholic coffee.

The NPR article quotes a Pennsylvania bar patron who described the PBR coffee as “like Starbucks’ Frappuccino, honestly.” Not a ringing endorsement, and in fact, it sounds pretty fucking disgusting. The article continues:

There is no beer taste. That’s because Pabst says its hard coffee is made with “malt beverage,” which is related to beer. The company uses malted barley that’s fermented. The malt flavor and color is removed, leaving a neutral alcohol that Pabst combines with coffee, sugar, milk and vanilla to make hard coffee.


The thought of those individual components—malt liquor, watery canned coffee, something formerly resembling milk, syrupy sugar—is appalling. Again—adding malt liquor to lemon and sugar, fine, I’m on board. Adding it to milk? Absolutely not. No way. I object. Not now, not ever.

In general, attempts to combine dessert and alcohol are often ill-fated and best left to the pros. The boozy milkshake trend, for example, is completely misguided—I don’t want to drink two pints of ice cream just to get a shot of bourbon. But if what you’re after is “booze taste and/or effect with coffee, cream and sugar,” the perfect drink already exists for you: Bailey’s, which has more than three times as much alcohol as the new PBR dribble. Add a little dash of that to a coffee—even a Starbucks Frappucino, if you want to take it on the go—and you’re golden. Pour some half-and-half into some Kahlúa, for all I care. Just don’t settle for this can of coffee piss.


To be fair to PBR, I have not tried the coffee drink, so I could be wrong. However, I am not. This shit definitely sucks. Don’t buy it.

Splinter politics writer. libby.watson@splinternews.com

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