It’s a small bar with a large drinks menu – beer, wine, whiskey, White Claws, cocktails and cordials are all served at Fork in the Market, a downtown destination.
But it has one thing it absolutely, always has in stock in its rotary range: Pabst Blue Ribbon.
“We’re not allowed to run out,” said bar manager Savannah Martin. “It’s our number 1.”
The downtown watering hole serves up American lager at a prodigious rate and has the plaques to prove it. This year, he was crowned Virginia’s #1 seller of beer affectionately known as PBR, beating the biggest bars and biggest cities.
It rose to No. 24 on the national sales list. It has steadily climbed this ranking since its debut on the top seller list in 2018 in the 89 slot.
“People love good, affordable beer,” said Dave Trinkle, co-owner of Fork in the Market, where a PBR pour will set you back just $2.
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He credited the restaurant’s staff and regulars with pushing him up the charts. “People are getting competitive,” he said. “It makes it fun.”
PBR, an easy-drinking beer with a cache among blue-collar and hipster crowds, held firm amid the craft beer boom.
“We’ve tried to really embrace it,” PBR national accounts manager Joe Cilek said of the growing number of small, local breweries across the country.
“We have a lot in common. We’re a small business; craft beers are small businesses. There’s a lot of similarities,” he said. PBR, although distributed nationally, has a staff of around 300 people and notoriously avoids mainstream advertising campaigns.
There’s enough room on tap for everyone, Cilek said. He later added that he had never seen a bar go up the sales chart as fast as Fork before.
Fork, a small slice of a bar at around 700 square feet, punches well above its weight among beer slingers coast to coast.
“It’s amazing. Roanoke, Va. kicks people’s ass. I can never be quiet about this,” said J. Nobles, who until May was a longtime regional manager for PBR whose territory included Virginia.
The bar sold just over 50,000 PBRs last year to claim the top spot in the Commonwealth. He celebrated the weekend of June 11 with Pabst-A-Palooza, a street festival with live music, themed food – PBR beer cheese nachos, anyone? – and, of course, lots of Pabst blue ribbons.
“There are a lot of PBR fans here,” Trinkle said that day as he surveyed the bustling scene. “It’s funny. We’re a very small restaurant and we’ve become number 1 in the state of Virginia.
PBR, in addition to bringing an array of loot, presented Fork with a new sign to add to his wall hanging that documents his rise up the national sales charts.
“I don’t know about all of you, but I helped make it happen,” Alan Keeney, of band Reverend Carbine, who performed at the festival, said from the stage holding up the new label.
“Let’s fork in market,” exclaimed Keeney. “Shit yeah!