“Go get me a blue ribbon.” I must’ve heard my grandpa utter those words hundreds of times as we sat together fishing off our small dock. Even before I could read I knew which beer to grab for him – the one with the first prize ribbon on the can. I didn’t realize it as a child of course, but that ease of recognition was a testament to the power of branding.
Pabst Blue Ribbon beer—PBR to its friends—may today be best known as the preferred beer of old Midwestern fishermen and mustachioed hipsters, but that instantly recognizable ribbon is more than just a symbol or marketing ploy. Pabst did, in fact, win a first-palace award at one of the most celebrated events in American history. The year was 1893 (a time when everyone looked like a mustachioed hipster) and in Chicago, Illinois, America’s greatest architects and planners had created a fairground unlike any the world had ever seen, a utopian White City. - Continue reading at Smithsonian.com.