Russian company buys Pabst

Oasis Beverages, a Russian food and beverage company owned by Eugene Kashper, announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Pabst Brewing Company. TSG Consumer Partners, an investor in growth-oriented consumer brands, will acquire a minority stake in Pabst as part of the transaction.

“Pabst Blue Ribbon is the quintessential American brand – it represents individualism, egalitarianism, and freedom of expression – all the things that make this country great,” Kashper said for a press release. “The opportunity to work with the company’s treasure trove of iconic brands, some of which I started my career selling, is a dream come true. It will be an honor to work with Pabst’s dedicated employees and partner distributors as we continue to build the business. We intend to invest meaningfully in the organization, to continue strong marketing support for PBC’s unique brands, and to drive new product innovations and renovations, such as the recent launch of Ballantine IPA.”

Kashper will serve as the CEO of PBC and the company’s headquarters will remain in Los Angeles, California.

Brian Krumrei, managing director at TSG, said “Pabst has a strong portfolio of authentic American brands including Pabst Blue Ribbon, Rainier, Lone Star, Old Style, Schlitz and National Bohemian, among others. We’re excited about the partnership with Eugene and the outlook for Pabst going forward.”

Dean Metropoulos announced in March he was seeking a new owner for Pabst, and hoped to sell it for between $500 million and $1 billion, according to some estimates. Terms of the transaction were not announced.

Pabst was founded in Milwaukee in 1844 by Jacob Best and later sold to beer tycoon Paul Kalmanovitz. The company was later left in a charitable foundation after Kalmanovitz’s death until a judge declared that it had to be sold. Metropoulos, who works with his sons Daren and Evan, bought Pabst from Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation in 2010 for $250 million.

Kashper, a graduate of Columbia University, began his career in the beer industry in 1994 with The Stroh Brewery Co. Since then, he has managed brewing companies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He founded Oasis Beverages in 2008 and currently serves as chairman, according to a company biography.

Pabst Brewing’s portfolio includes such brands as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Lone Star, Rainier, Ballantine IPA, Schlitz, Old Style, Stroh’s and Old Milwaukee.


All About Beer Magazine sold

Daniel Bradford, owner of All About Beer Magazine for 22 years, has sold Chautauqua, Inc. to a North Carolina company led by Christopher Rice.

“I’m excited about the energy and resources Chris and the All About Beer team will bring to both magazine and festivals,” Bradford said for a press release. He purchased the company in 1992 and created the first World Beer Festival in Durham in 1996, later adding otherse at multiple locations.

The newly formed company, All About Beer, LLC, will retain its headquarters in Durham, N.C., and maintain editorial offices in New York and San Francisco. Rice previously was vice president of Chautauqua, Inc., helping forge the direction of both the magazine and World Beer Festivals. He was co-founder of Carolina Brewing, serving as president for eight years beginning in 1994.

“I have been delighted to participate in Chris’ vision,” Bradford said. “With his creativity and business acumen, he is poised to increase the presence of these products in this new imaginative beer world.”

“I have been a loyal follower of All About Beer Magazine’s work during my 20 years connected to the beer industry,” Rice said. “It has a substantial position not only as the best-selling beer publication in the U.S. and Canada, but also telling great beer and brewing stories since 1979. Like so many of the brewers we have promoted and supported for the past 35 years, All About Beer Magazine has a strong history and standing in the beer industry. Daniel built great strength in these brands in his time as publisher, and I am very excited about the opportunities we have in front of us.”

Bradford — former director of the Great American Beer Festival, former president of the Brewers Association of America and former marketing director of the Association of Brewers — will continue in an advisory role.

“We have seen such a tremendous period of growth in beer appreciation, quality and awareness,” said Rice. “All About Beer Magazine has helped to greatly generate this awareness over the years. We are very excited to evolve our support for the industry’s beers and the brewers that make them, evolving uniquely just as the industry has done for the past 35 years.”

archives archives

AB InBev, SABMiller rumors heat up

It seems like rumors that Anheuser-Busch InBev would manage a takeover of SABMiller started just about the time the ink dried on the deal in which InBev bought out Anheuser-Busch in 2008. But things have heated up of late, with new rumors everywhere.

The Wall Street Journal, and now others report that AB InBev has been talking with banks about financing a megadeal that could coast $122 billion. That would be considerably more than the $52 billion it cost InBev to acquire A-B.

AB InBev had a nearly 20% share of the global beer market in 2013, while SABMiller had 9.6% share and and Heineken 9.3%.

The Journal reported that although a tie-up between the world’s two biggest brewers would put control of nearly one-third of global beer supply with one company, analysts say antitrust issues aren’t insurmountable. AB InBev would likely have to sell SABMiller’s stakes in two joint ventures, MillerCoors in the U.S. and CR Snow in China. Until those matter are sorted out making lists of which brands the new brewing giant would control is pure conjecture.

AB InBev has a history of reshaping the beer industry with large-scale acquisitions. In 2004, Brazil’s AmBev and Belgium’s Interbrew merged to create the global No. 1 brewer by volume. Four years later, the new company bought Anheuser-Busch and became AB InBev. The AB InBev management team trimmed billions of dollars off those brewers’ annual operating costs, helping to pay off the large debt that AB InBev took on to finance the deals.


Heineken rejects SABMiller takeover offer

Heineken has turned down SABMiller’s offer to acquire the its company and said it intends to remain independent. SABMiller’s bid was rejected by the family that controls Heineken, Bloomberg News reported. The offer, made in the last two weeks, would have made the family one of the combined company’s largest holders, one source said.

“For SAB, a way of preserving their independence is to buy Heineken,” Matthew Beesley of Henderson Global Investors Ltd. told Bloomberg News “It’s easy to underestimate the desire for management teams to be in control of their own destiny rather than to sell their business at a very high price.”

SABMiller has been the subject of speculation that AB InBev will attempt to take it over. Acquiring Heineken would help assure its independence as well as adding more than $25 billion in sales and bolster its presence in emerging markets such as Africa and Mexico.


Bob Pease promoted to Brewers Association CEO

The Brewers Association announced today that Bob Pease has been promoted to Chief Executive Office from Chief Operating Officer of the not-for-profit trade organization.

A press release states that the “transition to CEO formalizes much of the responsibility that Pease has already progressively adopted. Pease holds responsibilities in the areas of personnel administration, government affairs, export development and oversight of all financial/fiduciary, operational and functional areas of the BA. He will serve as the Association’s key liaison to its board of directors.”

Pease began working for the association in 1993 as customer service manager. He later became operations direction, then vice president in 1999 and COO in 2010.

“I’m honored to receive this promotion,” Pease said for the press release. “And I am excited to lead the Brewers Association forward, continuing our efforts to accomplish key objectives on behalf of our members.”

Charlie Papazian — founder of the American Homebrewers Association and the Association of Brewers (subsequently merged into the Brewers Association) — remains BA president. “Since 1978, I have enjoyed championing the interests of craft brewers, homebrewers and their beers. And I have been fortunate to have a dedicated, talented colleague in Bob Pease, sharing those efforts with me for many of those years,” Papazian said.


Brew Hub announces St. Louis brewery

Brew Hub has announced plans to build its next brewery in Chesterfield, Mo., just west of St. Louis. The brewery will be Brew Hub’s corporate headquarters and the second in a network of five state-of-the-art breweries the company is planning to build. Brew Hub’s first brewery opened last month in Lakeland, Fla.

Brew Hub had introduced what it calls “partner brewing.” It allows craft breweries to brew their beer to exact specifications under the supervision of their own brewmaster, and to package and distribute from Brew Hub. Brew Hub also offers its partners services including sales, marketing, logistics, legal, and government affairs.

“The announcement of our second craft brewery is a huge milestone for Brew Hub, and it’s a reflection of the incredible growth of craft beer over the past several years,” said Tim Schoen, founder and CEO of Brew Hub. “Our objective from the beginning was simply to help craft brewers grow by offering the facilities, brewing and beer industry expertise they need. Our St. Louis brewery is going to allow many more craft brewers to benefit from our model.”

The St. Louis brewery will be located off I-64 in Chesterfield, and will have an initial brewing capacity of 75,000 barrels and the potential to expand its capacity to 200,000 barrels annually. Brew Hub plans to begin construction of the St. Louis brewery by the end of the year and open the brewery in early 2016. The agreement to build Brew Hub’s St. Louis brewery is contingent upon the approval of state and local tax incentives.

“Brew Hub’s decision to build their second craft brewery in Chesterfield is a huge economic win for the entire St. Louis region,” said Denny Coleman, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

The brewery will feature a 3,000-square-foot tasting room and biergarten. The brewery also will offer merchandise and free brewery tours. Brew Hub will employ approximately 55 people at its St. Louis brewery in brewing, operations, front office and its tasting room.

“We have had meetings and are negotiating partnerships with some of the top craft breweries in the Midwest,” said Schoen. “Our St. Louis brewery is going to allow these brewers to expand to new states and grow their brands like never before, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Brew Hub currently has partnerships with several breweries, including Cigar City Brewing, Orange Blossom Pilsner, Green Man Brewing and BJ’s Restaurants. Brew Hub brews beer for all four companies at its brewery in Lakeland and is in discussions to begin brewing their beer at the St. Louis brewery when it opens.

Brew Hub plans to open three more breweries during the next five years. Specific markets will be determined based on demand, but the company is considering strategic locations in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Texas and West Coast. This network of Brew Hub facilities will allow craft brewers from across the country to enter new markets.