PBR for Sale?

Cash to spare? Wanna buy a beer company? Strike now or be bowled over.

Paul Kalmanovitz was a Polish immigrant who made millions in real estate before turning his attentions to beer in 1950. In that year he bought the Los Angeles-based Maier Brewing Co. Over the next couple of decades he bought out other struggling breweries, too, eventually ending up with a sizable portfolio of brands that included Ballantine, Blatz, Carling Black Label, Lone Star, Lucky Lager, Falstaff, National Bohemian, Old Milwaukee, Olympia, Primo, Rainier, Schlitz, Schaefer, Schmidt, Stag, Stroh’s and Pabst. When Kalmanovitz passed away in 1997, he left a sizable estate, something on the order of between a quarter and a half-a-billion dollars. Despite litigious distant relatives, most of the money eventually wound up in a charitable trust, the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation. Unfortunately, for reasons not entirely clear, the I.R.S. “frowns” on a charity owning a beer company. The I.R.S. gave the foundation until 2005 to sell the beer portion of the estate, but they were unable to find a buyer so they were given an extension until 2010.

But Pabst’s recent success with its retro brand positioning may command a higher price, if a potential buyer can be found. The problem is who? Neither A-B or MillerCoors seem interested and not even the largest microbrewery could afford it. That leaves the global beer companies. Obviously, InBev is a little tied up with the buyout of A-B. There’s also Carlsberg, Heineken and a few others, but so far none have shown any interest, either. That leaves non-beer investors, but historically such ventures have been risky at best. The more money they can get, the better funded the charity can be, and the more worthy causes they can help. That means it’s in their best interests to wait for the best price. For that reason, some critics have accused the foundation of dragging their heels. Of course, the I.R.S. isn’t known for their patience so at some point a sale will have to take place, and possibly in the next two years.

Attached files

Comments

  1. Jephro says

    Since we are already socializing the US financial system maybe the IRS wants to get in on the action and run a brewery. 😮

    It’s a win win. Dealing with the IRS will drive one to drinking..right?

  2. jesskidden says

    admin wrote:

    Paul Kalmanovitz was a Polish immigrant who made millions in real estate before turning his attentions to beer in 1950. In that year he bought the Los Angeles-based Maier Brewing Co. Over the next couple of decades he bought out other struggling breweries, too, eventually ending up with a sizable portfolio of brands that included Ballantine, Blatz, Carling Black Label, Lone Star, Lucky Lager, Falstaff, National Bohemian, Old Milwaukee, Olympia, Primo, Rainier, Schlitz, Schaefer, Schmidt, Stag, Stroh’s and Pabst. When Kalmanovitz passed away in 1997…

    Kalmanovitz died in 1987 – not 1997- 2 years after buying Pabst. So *he* never owned Blatz, Carling Black Label, Lone Star, National Bohemian, Old Milwaukee, Primo, Rainier, Schlitz, Schaefer, Schmidt, Stag or Stroh’s- all brands Pabst got after buying most of the Stroh & Heileman collection of labels when Stroh folded in ’99. Before buying Pabst, his S&P Corporation was best known for owning the General-Pearl-Falstaff (the latter including the Narragansett & Ballantine brands) breweries.

  3. SRB says

    U.S. President James Madison pushed for the formation of a National Brewery many a moon ago.
    Who should Obama or McCain appoint to run the new United States Brewery?