A beer can memorializing the US Army's victory in World War II is not unthinkable. A beer can memorializing the US Army's victory in World War II targeted solely at the Chinese market is a little less likely. Yet, there it is.
"World War Two Edition in memory of US Army" reads the English on the side of a green Pabst Blue Ribbon can now on sale at select groceries in China. Under a stoic photo of a helmet-clad soldier's face, the exclamation "Yes we can!"
The "Yes we can!" cans come in a variety of US Army soldiers, including grizzled guy on a beachhead, grizzled guy on a battlefield, and grizzled guy introspectively looking heavenward as a (French?) town behind him burns.
There is very little information about the beer online and few posts on social media. But it is not that new, either. While retailers have put it on shelves again probably to clear inventory, the first information about the beer dates back to late 2009, when a commercial (in Cantonese) was posted.
What was Pabst thinking? Who knows. But maybe the beer brewer was hoping to capitalize on the popularity of America's role in defeating the despised Japanese in 1945. The commercial makes a specific point to call out battles in the Pacific theatre, including those at Leyte Gulf, the Marshall Islands and Midway—all major US defeats of Japanese forces during World War II.
Neither Pabst China nor Pabst Brewing Company in the US responded to requests about the edition.
Pabst in China is not the cheap, ironic hipster beer it is in the US. The brand has struggled to position itself in a station of legitimacy alongside other beers such as Heineken, Budweiser, Kirin, Tsingtao, Harbin and others. A few years ago, it even released a limited edition brew called "1844" which sold for about $40 a bottle.
Meanwhile, Pabst's US Army World War II commemorative beer is complemented by "Blue Ribbon General Beer," (蓝带将军啤酒) in bottles featuring a silver star on Army green with a background silhouetted with World War II imagery.
As for the taste? Well, I shall return to it.
PBR General Beer via China site blueribbon-beer.com.