Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Classic Schlitz

Pabst is still around, and they're bringing back the beer that made Milwaukee famous, Schlitz. Unfortunately we'll have to drive to Illinois to get it.

Schlitz had been available only in cans for several years until the brand's owner, Pabst Brewing Co., began selling it in bottles last year in Minneapolis and Tampa, Fla.

That bottled version of Schlitz, which uses a traditional recipe last used in the early '70s, was snapped up by older baby boomers who remember the beer from its glory days, before Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. cheapened the formula. On Monday, 10 Chicago taverns and liquor stores began carrying the bottled version.

The "new" brew, dubbed Schlitz "Classic 1960s Formula," carries a more "full-bodied taste," with a bit more flavoring from hops than Schlitz in cans, which remains unchanged, said Kyle Wortham, a brand manager at Pabst, based in suburban Chicago.

"It tastes like a real beer," Wortham said about classic Schlitz.

Unlike most beers, classic Schlitz isn't being marketed to people ages 21 to 35, who buy more than half the beer sold nationwide.

Instead, Pabst is selling bottled Schlitz as a sudsy comfort food for men in their 50s and early 60s. Those drinkers mostly came of age in the 1960s, when Schlitz was advertised as the beer with "gusto."

A series of Web-based ads, which can be viewed at schlitzgusto.com, feature a man in his 50s. Each spot provides a definition of gusto.

One ad shows a bar scene with a 20-something looking at his cell phone, as the narrator says gusto is "instant messaging -- face to face." The young man then moves aside to show two baby boomers yukking it up at the bar over a couple of beers.

The tagline for the ads: "Go for the gusto. Your Schlitz is back."

Here's a classic ad: