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Old Style bar sign marks 'Chicago-theme' of Downtown watering hole

By Sonali Kohli
Published: Monday, May 21, 2012, at 09:43AM

Bar 107, on 4th Street, has a sign for Old Style beer, but they're unable to sell the beer because of a low demand.

At one 4th Street bar, there’s a sign that lures people in – it advertises Old Style beer, a Pabst brand rarely found outside the Midwest.

But Bar 107, the Chicago-style venue, doesn’t actually carry the beer. They’ve tried to get Old Style from distributors and the company itself, but they haven't been successful, said Kevin Houck, one of the bar's owners.

There isn't a high enough demand for Old Style to justify bringing it to California, said Pabst brand manager Lucas Murdock.

Old Style is a Midwestern regional beer, as opposed to other Pabst beers like PBR, which are marketed throughout the country. There are no distributors of Old Style in California.

"If we can generate enough demand in any given market, we will certainly entertain the idea of bringing Old Style," Murdock said.

In Chicago, Old Style is somewhat of an institution. For Cubs fans, drinking Old Style is part of the experience, said Cubs spokesman Kevin Saghy. People grow up seeing the Old Style at games, and drinking it when they’re old enough.

There was a strong fan reaction last year with the possibility that Old Style would no longer be sold at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs renewed their contract in September to continue selling the beer at games, Saghy said.

“Old Style is a tradition here and we definitely want to keep that partnership going,” he said.

People often see the sign outside Bar 107 and come in looking for Old Style, or a taste of home, Houck said. They usually settle on another beer when they realize the sign is only a marker of the bar’s Chicago theme, Houck said.

Some of the bar’s owners are from Chicago and wanted the sign, so they bought it online, Houck said.

Alistair Chang and Jai Maddox both live nearby, and have been regulars for about five years, Chang said.

Chang and Maddox both locals, and said they knew that Old Style beer exists, but they come for the convenient location and the ambiance, not the sign.


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