(Woodridge, IL) – Pabst Brewing is for sale again after it was originally put on the market several years ago. Pabst is the #3 largest brewing company behind A-B/InBev and SABMiller.
The New York Post published the exclusive yesterday morning, reporting that the owner, the California-based Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, was trying to find a buyer who would pay in the $300 million area. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided further context around the sale:
“The sale effort is apparently 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, according to a 2008 report by the Chicago Tribune.”
Down the street from corporate headquarters, the Chicago Cubs, who earned $239 million in revenue over the 2008 season according to Forbes’ annual baseball report, were sold for $900 million earlier this year. Pabst doesn’t have that much value now. Production was down to 5.9 million barrels in 2008 according to The New Brewer’s annual report though it was near 16 million in its heyday. Last year’s figure is a 3.3% decline from the prior year.
The brand is bouncing back in a big way in 2009 though and the timing couldn’t be any better. AdAge reported in September that PBR sales are up 25%.
Pabst professed its place as the largest “fully independent and American-owned” brewery a little over a year ago in a bizarre press release. In it, Pabst alleges that it received “many inquiries” regarding its ownership after the A-B/InBev merger. Maybe that kind of declaration of independence will appeal to the eventual buyer, perhaps another Belgian corporate behemoth? Michael Horne of Milwaukee World summarized the arguments against Pabst’s independence, citing, among other things, the fact that its beers are contract-brewed by SABMiller.
I wonder what the guy who made the Pabst can coffin thinks about the whole thing?