Business Strategies

Pabst Brewing Sold to Russian Beverage Firm

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Sep 23, 2014

Pabst Brewing Co., at one time the leading brewer in America, was sold to Russian brewer Oasis Beverages on Sept. 18 for an estimated $700 million -- nearly three times the estimated $250 million that C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. paid for it in 2010.

Chairman of Oasis Beverages is Eugene Kashper, a graduate of Columbia University who began his career in the beer industry in 1994 with Stroh Brewery Co. He managed brewing companies in Eastern European and CIS countries (former Soviet republics) until he founded Oasis in 2008. Oasis has operations in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, according to The Wall Street Journal, and it also makes soft drinks and juice.

TSG Consumer Partners, a "strategic equity investor in growth-oriented consumer brands" with offices in San Francisco and New York, will acquire a minority stake in Pabst. TSG has previously owned stakes in Vitaminwater, Smart Balance, Popchips, Muscle Milk and cosmetics companies.

Kashper will be CEO of Pabst and the company’s headquarters will remain in Los Angeles.

In addition to its namesake Pabst Blue Ribbon, the company makes Colt 45, Old Milwaukee and Schlitz, as well as regional brands such as Lone Star, Rainier, National Bohemian, Olympia, Old Style and Stroh’s.

Jacob Best began the Milwaukee brewery in 1848. Pabst sold a high of 18 million barrels in 1977 but, like many brewers at the time, sales spiraled downward. After it was sold in 1984 by the Pabst family of Milwaukee, the company acquired other brewers that formerly were formidable competitors, such as Schlitz and Stroh's. The Metropoulos investment firm (same one that now owns Hostess Brands) acquired it in 2010 as Pabst rode a wave of renewed interest by young beer drinkers who liked its retro image. An estimated 6 million barrels of Pabst Blue Ribbon were sold last year, a respectable amount. One report said sales of PBR have more than doubled in the past 10 years.