The San Antonio Business Journal is reporting that local company Pabst Brewing has “hired Merrill Lynch to facilitate a possible sale of the company.” Pabst CEO Brian Kovalchuck acknowledged that the New York financial powerhouse has already sent out a prospectus to potentially interested parties, who include breweries as well as “leveraged buyout firms.” With annual sales of around $575 million, Pabst is the fourth largest brewer in the country, despite owning no physical brewery and contracting their beers through Miller. They own almost thirty brand names, including Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Style, Old Milwaukee, Lone Star, Schlitz, McSorely’s, Olympia, Stroh’s and Colt 45.
With PBR recently finding new life by currying retro favor with young people, it will be interesting to see who will be interested in buying the brand. If Anheuser-Busch hadn’t bought Rolling Rock earlier this year, I would have put them at the top of the list. But who knows, maybe they still might make a play for it. But I think the most obvious potential buyer, among brewers at least, is SABMiller, if for no other reason than they’ve been doing the contract brewing for a number of years and could use the shot in the arm of another popular label.