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Shootin’ The Boot – When a Beer is More than Just a Beer

Submitted by on July 23, 2009 – 11:21 AMNo Comment
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When I moved to Indianapolis, one of the first things I wanted to do was to find a rugby team. Luck was with me, and at the annual Irish Fest Rugby Tournament, I met the guys of White River Rugby.

The White River Rugby is a collection of guys from all walks of life. It has provided the common bond by which friendships have been established, which otherwise would probably have never existed. In my time with the club, there have been a number of students, fighters, veterans, engineers, car dealers, mechanics, teachers, West Point graduates- pretty much, you name the profession and we have had it.

That dream almost came to an end a few years back. As with many fledgling organizations, the club was in danger of folding. However, one person stepped up to the mantle of leadership and gave the club hope for at least one more day.

It was the aid which then club president Andre Boulais found in a simple beer maker that really brought the club from the depths of destruction to the success and life which it has today. A simple request put in to the website for Pabst Blue Ribbon was all it took.

Pabst Blue Ribbon, more commonly known as PBR, is an American institution in beer. Since 2001, PBR has begun making resurgence in local bars and taverns across the country, but began sponsoring White River Rugby in 2002. The good people at PBR have provided the team with financial assistance in the form of money and merchandise (for sale). This has made it easier for the team to enter different tournaments; pay for sleeping arrangements when traveling; new jerseys and equipment. Overall, it has made it easier to keep individual dues down making it more affordable for people to play.

I can’t help but think that part of that resurgence is due to similar acts of kindness given to other organizations. Were it not for the sponsorship that PBR gave White River Rugby, there is no telling if it would have survived.

Now it is celebrating its 10th year as a competitive rugby club; definitely a pretty good reason to down a few cold PBRs!

Members of White River Rugby enjoying a few PBRs.

Members of White River Rugby enjoying a few PBRs.


pabst-blue-ribbonPBR was founded over 160 years ago in Milwaukee (where else?) by a German immigrant its initial capacity was a mere 18 barrels. It was not until steamship Captain Frederick Pabst married into the family that the changes which identify this American icon were made.

The company was renamed Pabst Brewing Company in the 1880s and began the practice of tying blue ribbons around the neck of the company flagship beer, renamed Pabst Blue Ribbon after being called “America’s Best” at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Through the years the company grew in popularity. It reached its high point in 1977, brewing 18 million barrels. Alas, the numbers shrank in the years following to less than a million barrels by 2001.

Join Travis Pulver as he blogs about his experience with rugby and beer in his blog series, “Shootin’ the Boot.”