16 Nov 2009 @ 12:10 PM 

How to Buy a Brewery in 60 Million Easy Steps.


In case you didn’t catch the news a little while back, Pabst Blue Ribbon is for sale. Why is kind of amusing. It is currently owned by the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation which has recently been given a deadline by the IRS to sell Pabst, because it is unlawful for charitable foundations to own for-profit companies.

Paul Kalmanovitz, who the Foundation is named after, was the former owner of Pabst, as well as Falstaff Brewing, Lone Star, and Pearl, Stroh’s, and Olympia. When he died, he left most of his estate to the creation of a charitable foundation for universities and hospitals. Oh, and also making bank with PBR.

Let me throw you one quote from the Wikipedia article about how Kalmanovitz made breweries profitable and I’ll move on:

Kalmanovitz acquired an ailing brewery, fired the corporate personnel, reduced budgets, sold off equipment, stopped plant maintenance, and eliminated product quality control.

Truly, it was the golden age of brewing.

Of course, Pabst – at this point – isn’t really a beer company. It’s a marketing organization. They contract the brewing of a dozen-or-so brands. I’m not clear on exactly who does the brewing for them, but I’m pretty sure it’s MillerCoors. Don’t quote me on that.

Regardless of where the beer is actually made, Pabst, and by extension, hipster-badge Pabst Blue Ribbon, is available for the low, low price of $300,000,000.

It seems like a paltry amount, especially if you look at the recent AB-InBev merger price tag of what.. $52 billion? But, considering this economy $300 million is probably as much as they can expect. And maybe rent in Milwaukee is a little lower than St. Louis.

Rather than wait for the announcement of the next giant corporation/richer-than-rich-private-entity snapping up Pabst, an enterprising set of individuals have put together a little website to crowdsource the purchase of Pabst: BuyABeerCompany.com.

Why this isn’t dragging in hipsters by the boatload, I’m not sure. Probably because if you’re drinking PBR, then the following sentence on the website is a deal-killer:

The asking price is $300 Million, not a small number, but through crowdsourcing pledges of as little as $5.00, the cost of a bottle of beer, this can be achieved based on the largest crowdsourced audience assembled, ever.

$5.00? For a bottle of beer? Man, that’s like a sixer of PBR.

(Hey hipsters! That’s like a 12-pack of Genny Cream Ale! You fools!)

It’s a cool concept. If you’re interested, you pledge for a certain amount. You don’t need to send in any money. Your money isn’t needed until they receive $300 million in pledges.

Never mind that at $5.00/pledge you need 60 million pledges. Or to look at that another way, you need $5 from every drinking American.

So, sure. We might all put down $300 million, collectively, on a Friday night. But try to organize us like this over the internet. I bet that most of those drinkers don’t even know what an internet looks like.

If an enterprising set of investors were interested, however, this would be an interesting way of buying Pabst without paying full price. Of course, then you’d have to share with all the douchebags like me who have pledged $25 for the opportunity to someday (maybe) own .00000008% of Pabst.

Who knows where that kind of investment could lead?

As of when I wrote this post, they already have $500,000 in pledges. Only $299,500,000 to go.

Come on, everyone. Pony up!

Tags Tags: ,
Categories: industry, news
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 16 Nov 2009 @ 12 10 PM


Responses to this post » (One Total)

  1. Frank says:

    I own part of a Belgian brewery. I have worked my hasslehoff to get an offer from Heineken. This is a real, gritty, honest, true and very well written article. Thank you.

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