Got $300 million? You can own Pabst

Pabst Brewing Co., which owns the Pabst and Schlitz beer brands as well as nearly 40 others, is up for sale again.

The Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to find a buyer willing to pay around $300 million, according to the New York Post, which cited unnamed sources in a Monday article. The foundation also put the company on the market in 2003 but did not find a buyer.

The action apparently is the result of a deadline imposed by the Internal Revenue Service. Federal tax laws don’t allow charitable foundations to own for-profit companies. The IRS initially gave the foundation until 2005 to sell Pabst. That deadline was extended to 2010 when a buyer couldn’t be found.

After years of fast rapid, sales of the Pabst brand stabilized in the early part of this decade when it gained some notoriety a “hipster beer.” The company has sought to revive Schlitz — one of the other iconic brands such as Old Style and Special Export it owns — in a similar way, but results have be mixed. Despite better results by Schlitz and Pabst overall company sales declined 3.3% in 2008.

Pabst was founded in 1844 in Milwaukee and became one of the country’s largest brewers. In 1975, Pabst beer accounted for 45% of all beer sold in Wisconsin and in 1976 Pabst held 11.2% of the national market. It closed the last of its own breweries in 2001 and since it has contracted brewing of its brands largely to Miller Brewing Co.

3 Replies to “Got $300 million? You can own Pabst”

  1. With the news that Pabst is for sale again, Conan O’Brien took a shot at Pabst, Old Milwaukee and Schlitz during his comedy bit last night.

    Here’s what he said: “The brewery that makes Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Milwaukee and Schlitz is up for sale. However, the new owner must promise to uphold the brewery’s proud tradition of only brewing beer that tastes like ass.”
    – Conan O’Brien

Comments are closed.