The owner of Pabst Brewing — the company that produces Pabst Blue Ribbon beer — C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. has finalized a sale of the brewery to Russian brewing company Oasis Beverages. The New York Times reports that Oasis, the largest brewer and beer distributor in Russia, may have paid as much as $700 million for Pabst, which is significantly less than what Metropoulos was asking for last week. The previously announced talks between Metropoulos and private-equity firm TSG Consumer Partners LLC did not yield a sale.
Eugene Kashper, the chairman of Oasis Beverages, released a statement: "Pabst Blue Ribbon is the quintessential American brand – it represents individualism, egalitarianism and freedom of expression – all the things that make this country great. The opportunity to work with the company's treasure trove of iconic brands, some of which I started my career selling, is a dream come true." Kashper seems to love America and its food and beverage brands more than his country's government. The news cycle has been full of stories of how Russian officials have waged war on the most American of fast food chains, McDonald's, in moves that smell politically motivated.
When Metropoulos acquired Pabst in 2010 — for just $250 million — the brand's hipster-friendly image had not yet been established. With its recognizable name and reputation, PBR was poised to sell. The Pabst/Oasis deal, which includes the brewery's smaller beer brands as well (Colt 45, Schlitz, and Old Milwaukee, and the soon-to-be revived Ballantine India Pale Ale) may mean increased international distribution for the American brew. Meanwhile, the beer industry is bracing for the possibility of more large mergers.