The news: "America's original since 1844" won't be American for much longer.
Pabst Brewing Co., the distributor of classic brews like Pabst Blue Ribbon, Colt 45 and Old Milwaukee, is set to be acquired by Russian beverage company Oasis Beverages. "Pabst Blue Ribbon is the quintessential American brand. It represents individualism, egalitarianism and freedom of expression — all the things that make this country great," said Eugene Kashper, chairman of the company's board, in an announcement Thursday.
The New York Times reported that the buying price was around $700 million in cash. An American private equity firm, TSG Consumer Partners, is also part of the deal, but they'll only retain a minority stake; Oasis will be running the show, and Kashper will take over as Pabst Brewing Co.'s new CEO.
This is the height of irony: PBR has been around since 1844, and it's the iconic hipster beer, beloved by bearded, flannel- and black-framed glasses-wearing people everywhere. Averaging out around two or three dollars per can in a dive bar, it's the go-to for poor college students and the budget boozehounds among us. It's also, in turn, one of the most recognizably "American" beers, next to crowd-pleasers like Budweiser, Miller and Coors.
Despite its hipster label, it's incredibly popular with Americans in general. The United States drank 90 million gallons of the brew in 2013, which was up 200% from 2004, according to the Huffington Post. Even Bill Murray loves the stuff.
But that's all about to change. Though the company's headquarters will remain in California, the Russian ownership is a huge departure for the all-American brand, which has been owned by Twinkie savior Dean Metropoulos since 2010. The Guardian notes that Oasis is one of the largest alcohol distributors in Russia — a place that didn't classify beer as alcohol until 2011.
Time to say privyet, hipsters.
h/t New York Times