As of today, the Pabst deal is done. The Kalmanovitz Trust no longer owns Pabst and now C. Dean Metropoulos and his two sons are at the helm.
According to Harry Schuhmacher at Beer Business Daily:
In buying Pabst, Metropoulos is getting a variety of regional brands, some of which he may sell off, according to sources. Pabst owns Schaefer, Carling’s Black Label, Blatz, Colt 45 Malt Liquor, Schmidt, Special Export, Schlitz, Lone Star, Jacob Best, Ballantine, Falstaff, Rainier, Ice Man Malt Liquor, Silver Thunder Malt Liquor and Stroh’s Beer.
Of the portfolio, Pabst Blue Ribbon and to a lesser extent Lone Start are the diamonds in the rough. PBR is currently the fastest growing domestic beer brand of the top brands in IRI scans, up around 20% in the latest four weeks. The brand has been embraced by young adults with an anti-establishment bent, with a love of irony (I decline to say “hipsters” because that’s what everybody says, and I think it’s gone beyond hipsters). Pabst has proven masterful at what I’ve called un-marketing — that is, marketing without seeming to market, relying mainly on word-of-mouth. The recent Clint Eastwood flick Gran Torino didn’t hurt either.
Distributor we’ve talked to are guardedly optimistic about the sale, as Metropoulos clearly has “earned his chops turning around old brands,” as one distrib said in an email. Distribs are also glad that the decades-long uncertainty about the fate of Pabst is finally over. Of course, there is a change in control, which theoretically could put the brewer in play in some states, although I’m not sure that would be a priority at this point for a new owner wanting to minimize disruption. But you never know.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens next.