Quality education — now on tap

Now playing in Corvallis, Pi Beta Rho fraternity, brought to youby Pabst Blue Ribbon.

In what marketers believe is an unusual association between abeer brand and a student group, the beer maker has gotten behindthe unaffiliated Oregon State University fraternity in a bigway.

The Pi Beta Rho brothers have gotten signs, T-shirts and even adartboard from Pabst — no free beer, though.

Fraternity members persuaded Pabst to sign on after a barrage ofemails and phone calls to the San Antonio-based company’s marketingteam.

And ever since The Daily Barometer, Oregon State’s campusnewspaper, wrote a story about the match-up, inquiries have beenpouring in from around the country.

Students from Washington State, MIT, Purdue, North CarolinaState and the University of Michigan’s rugby team, among others,have all emailed asking how they can start their own Pi Beta Rhochapter.

“I’m overwhelmed,” junior Joel Van Dyke, 21, told The Oregonian.”I didn’t think it would catch on this big.”

The 160-year-old beer brand with the red, white and blue labeldoes no major advertising and so relies on creating a buzz withpromotions such as sponsoring the fraternity.

“It’s the only one we’re aware of,” said Neal Stewart, seniorbrand manager at Pabst Brewing Co. “These are a group of guys whohave adopted the brand. Like any subculture — bike messengers, aNew York underground film festival — we support theirlifestyles.”

Larry Roper, Oregon State’s vice provost for student affairs whospearheads the school’s alcohol education efforts, said the PabstBoys are on a positive track. It’s entrepreneurial, he said.

“Our responsibility is not to mold (students) into a singlelifestyle; it’s to equip them with the tools to live a life ofintegrity,” he said. AP