While many would-be drinkers are starting off “Dry January” with something alcohol-free, Pabst Blue Ribbon is ringing in the new year with an apology.
Earlier today, the beer brand’s official Twitter account posted a series of questionable tweets criticizing the month designated for abstaining from alcohol. Some saw the commentary as insensitive to anyone cutting back on alcohol this month. Other tweets—including one viral post that has now been deleted—were even more explicit.
While PBR’s Twitter account didn’t publicly address the inappropriate posts, they were deleted by Monday afternoon. When asked for comment, the company wouldn’t elaborate on its social media strategy or the “Wet January” campaign. However, Nick Reely, Pabst Blue Ribbon’s vice president of marketing, said “we apologize about the language and content of our recent tweets.”
“The tweets in question were written in poor judgment by one of our associates,” Reely said in a statement emailed to Forbes. “In no way does the content of these tweets reflect the values of Pabst and our Associates. We’re handling the matter internally and have removed the tweets from our social platforms”
Pabst Blue Ribbon’s “Wet January” campaign began on Jan. 1 when it wrote “what if January wasn’t dry” along with a photo of beer-carrying people in rain jackets. The next day, PBR tweeted again: “Most months have 30 days. Some have less. Only one month has 31 days. Wet January.”
While many Twitter users were quick to comment and create related memes of their own, at least one non-beer brand also weighed in: Slim Jim’s official account replied this morning to PBR’s now-deleted tweet, writing that “Legal must have off until the 4th.”
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“For all the fuss about PBR’s beyond-tasteless tweet that got deleted, they still are running tons of tweets about Wet January,” wrote David Berkowtiz, a senior vice president of corporate marketing at Mediaocean. “That’s in equally poor taste, given that it’s grade school sexual innuendo combined with making light of people trying to push back against alcoholism.”
Dry January dates back to a decade ago when in 2012 the British charity Alcohol Change UK came up with the idea to challenge people to avoid alcohol for the entire month after the holiday season. In 2013, the organization launched its first Dry January campaign starring British journalists Alastair Campbell and Peter Osborne. Although just 4,000 people participated the first year, the organization says 130,000 signed up to go dry last year.
Major brands including Budweiser, Heineken and Brooklyn Brewing have been increasingly releasing alcohol-free options. PBR even released its own 0% beer back in 2019 on the company’s 175th anniversary. Meanwhile, a newer brewer, Athletic Brewing, has gained quick traction with its entire lineup of non-alcoholic beers.
Since this morning, PBR’s twitter hasn’t posted anything other than the word “Beer” and to retweet a 2012 tweet that says “Pabst truck full of bees.”