PBR Is About to Launch Its Own Whiskey

The PBR and rail whiskey combo is a dive bar staple. That pillar of chalkboard specials is about to get an upgrade.

pbr whiskey aged 5 seconds
Courtesy of PBR
Courtesy of PBR

The PBR and rail whiskey combo is a dive bar staple. It appears that pillar of chalkboard specials is about to get an upgrade, based on a label recently approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The Pabst Brewing Co. hasn't made an official announcement, but the label and emails from representatives to Thrillist indicate that a PBR Whiskey will be arriving in the not too distant future.

The label was approved for Michigan's New Holland Brewing, which is likely serving as the contract distiller for the new Pabst offering, per MiBiz. (You may remember from a recent legal battle that PBR does not brew its own beer, but uses contract brewers.) The relationship isn't new. New Holland and Pabst have had a beer distribution partnership in place since December 2016.

In addition to the Pabst Blue Ribbon name and logo, the label makes prominent use of the name Jacob Best, who founded the company that would eventually become Pabst Brewing Co. in 1844. The label notes that the whiskey will be packaged in 750ml bottles and says it's "aged 5 seconds."

"We developed a mash bill and process that produces a flavorful craft whiskey, we loved the liquid as it was without aging," a PBR representative tells Thrillist via email. "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."

What Thrillist was told falls in line with Food & Wine's report that a representative referred the whiskey as a "white whiskey." Having PBR tallboys share a label with a white dog whiskey would be incredibly on-brand for the company with the cheapest beer in the bar.

There isn't yet a whole lot of confirmed information available. Labels are frequently approved by the TTB many months in advance of a beer or spirit's release, as frequently noted during the partial government shutdown in January. Though, label approval indicates that a release can't be too far off. "We are just not quite ready yet as several details [are] still up in the air," spokesperson Alastair Duncan told MiBiz, adding that the project "is quite a big thing for the brand."

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Writer on the news team at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.