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Subject:  Beer Date:  8/10/2008  5:41 PM
Author:  pauleckler Number:  44561 of 46903

Over the weekend news releases have been published indicating that Pabst is reviving Schlitz beer for sale in selected markets. It is reportedly selling well. With Anheuser-Busch/Budweiser going to InBev and Miller/Molsen/Coors in the hands of SAB, Pabst calls itself the “last” American beer company.

When you dig into it you find out a few things.

Pabst products are brewed under contract by others, primarily by SAB/Miller (under an agreement put together when Stroh’s was divided between Pabst and Miller in 1999).

Pabst markets 85 brands including: Ballantine, Colt 45, Lone Star, Old Milwaukee, Old Style, Olympia, Ranier, Pabst, Schaefer, Schlitz, Stag, and Stroh’s. (See Wikipedia for the full list.)

In 1999, Pabst began shutting down its breweries. The large Heileman Brewery in LaCrosse, WI was sold to private investors under the name City Brewing. It now makes its own beer brands in addition to Arizona Iced Tea and Smirnoff Ice. The last Pabst brewery was the Lehigh Valley brewery near Allentown, PA, acquired from Stroh’s with the Schaefer’s brand. It was shut down in ‘01 and sold to Boston Beer, makers of Sam Adams, last year. (Boston Beer says the seller is Diageo, makers of Guiness and Smirnoff Ice, but details are unavailable.)

Meanwhile, the Rolling Rock Brewery in Latrobe, PA, was sold to City Brewing after InBev sold the Rolling Rock brand to Anheuser-Busch last year. Boston Beer invested to make Sam Adams there, but the contract lasted only 14 mo before they decided to buy Lehigh Valley instead. Boston Beer was also considering construction of a new brewery near Boston, but that plan is now abandoned.

Pabst’s market share in 2007 was 2.8% compared to 48.2% (128 MM bbls) for Anheuser-Busch and 29.5% for SAB/Miller including Molson/Coors. That 2.8% includes sales of several traditional urban leaders: Old Style (Chicago), Stroh’s (Detroit), and Schaefer’s (Brooklyn/NYC). Boston