December 15 2009
Did you know that one of America's last major brewing company is up for sale? Pabst Brewing Company, a Milwaukee legend and institution, is up for sale to a tune of $300 million. This not only includes the brand PBR but over 25 other brands such as Colt 45, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Lone Star, Olympia Genuine Draft, Piels, Schaefer, Schmidt, and Stroh's. As you know, all major beer comapanies are owned by foreign companies except Pabst Brewing Company, which is own by Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation. The fact that Pabst Brewing Company is owned by a non-profit is part of the reason for 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.
So this is where BuyABeeerCompany.com comes in to play. Initially started as joke, the site wants to crowsdsource the purchase of the Pabst Brewing Company, which is the third-largest beer company in the US. Crowdsourcing is taking tasks that are normally done by a corporation, or an institution and outsourcing those tasks to the public, a community or a group of people like buy a beer company. Hollywood-based Forza Migliozzi and New York's The Ad Store (Apple's ad company) are the folks behind this ambitious concept of community ownership of a corporation.
The concept is simple. One would go to the website and pledge a certain amount. You don't actually give money until they reach their goal of $300 million. If the sale goes through, you will receive stock, beer worth the amount you pledged and a certificate suitable for framing. The site has different pledge level to choose from:
Bottle Membership: $5.00
Six Pack Membership: $25.00
Case Membership: $100.00
The BrewMeister: $250,000.00
At the $250,000 brewmeister level, one would receive lots of beer and an elevated level of influence in the managing of the company.
BuyABeerCompany.com is now close to reaching $40 million in pledges. I got a chance to interview Michael Migliozzi, managing partner of Forza Migliozzi and discuss this a first of its kind endeavor. Take a listen:
A really interesting thing that this venture wants to do is to brew the beers locally again for each of the individual brands including PBR. That could mean jobs for Milwaukee if this all goes through as planned.
"If we can't do beer in this country, we can't do anything" - Mike Migliozzi
A Big thanks to 88Nine RadioMilwaukee intern Simen for editing the interview.