Billy Dee Williams arrives at the premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" on December 14 in Hollywood.
Photograph by Michael Kovac — Getty Images
By John Kell
March 28, 2016

Billy Dee Williams is back to remind you to never run out of Colt 45.

The Star Wars and Brian’s Song actor is reportedly returning as a spokesman for Pabst Brewing Co.’s malt liquor brand Colt 45, an alcoholic beverage that Williams promoted over a five-year period starting in 1986. According to USA Today, he will star in upcoming TV, print, and online marketing to promote the beverage.

As a reminder, this is what a Colt 45 ad looked like back when Williams promoted it the first time.

Colt 45 is one of the larger malt liquor brands sold in the U.S.—a category that has broadly fallen out of favor as consumers turn toward craft beers, bourbons, and other U.S.-made whiskeys and wines. Malt liquors, which contain higher alcohol levels than light lagers and few flavorful hops, have also faced criticism for packing too much of a punch. The beverage’s size, often sold in 40-ounce bottles, was also problematic when considering the high alcohol content.


Leaning on a celebrity for an advertisement is a tried-and-true strategy among alcoholic brands, although in recent years, MillerCoors, Anheuser-Busch InBev (bud), and others have tried to talk up the quality of the brewing process in an effort to combat craft’s success in persuading customers that more flavorful beers are better. Colt 45 is going in the opposite direction. The brand’s new ad proclaims that change “isn’t always a good thing,” and it also sticks with Colt 45’s tagline “It works every time.”

It is also going with a spokesman that USA Today says resonates more with men than women. That is an interesting move as well, as other big beer companies have sought to be more inclusive, as women make up an increasingly larger proportion of the industry’s customer base.


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