(4/25/03-Boston, Mass.)  Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.  (042503pbrsc01-staff photo by stuart cahill, saved in adv fea/ photo 3) (Photo by Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
How WWI Changed Pabst Blue Ribbon
By Gregory Lovvorn
Pabst Blue Ribbon has shown a tenacious ability to survive when others failed and has remained a favorite beer in many states. The company has survived and thrived through peace, war, and even prohibition, including political changes and WWI, which helped drive the history of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
The company's signature beer was known as "Blue Ribbon” even before the Pabst name came to be, as it had won awards at home and abroad for some time. To help advertise this fact, the company began adding hand-tied blue silk ribbons to its bottles in 1882, so it was only natural that patrons started asking for a Blue Ribbon when ordering.
At the beginning of World War I, the U.S. only controlled 8% of global shipping traffic, and Japan was the leading supplier of silk to the United States. Silk ribbon was considered a luxury textile, and Pabst using a million feet of ribbon each year was not sustainable, so the ribbons disappeared from PBR bottles.