In a hurry? Here are the elevator points:
- We want to bring Pabst back to Milwaukee, where it will stay, permanently.
- We will organize the ownership structure inspired by the Green Bay Packers – community owned, with profits going back into the community, and structured to prevent future purchase, reorganization or relocation.
- This will create a sustainable revenue stream for the City of Milwaukee to use toward solving the City’s most pressing problems and creating opportunity for all the City’s residents.
Thirsty for more? Read on.
When we heard Pabst was for sale, we started a Facebook group. We love this city, we want Pabst to come home and we were curious if folks agreed with us. They do – within 20 hours, over 1,000 of you joined the group, and that number continues to rise. In fact, Pabst founder Frederick Pabst’s great-great-granddaughter, Bridget Byrnes, contacted us and volunteered to build this very website. Serendipity, maybe, but just maybe the Universe thinks this is an awesome idea, too.
The great brewery exodus left a gaping hole in Milwaukee’s economy, stalling progress for years. We’re still recovering from that loss in significant ways. Milwaukee has a lot of serious problems – we’re the most segregated city in the nation and we struggle with huge class disparity, to name just a couple. The departure of the city’s breweries alone did not cause these problems, but that industry’s exodus was part of a larger trend of manufacturing flight leading to massive loss of jobs and revenue. These problems continue to define the Milwaukee many residents call home. Would bringing Pabst back solve these problems? Not in and of itself, no, but it could be a step in the right direction, offering an innovative inroad on making these problems better.
Pabst belongs here, plain and simple. Milwaukee is a huge part of the brand’s marketing. We’re all over the packaging, website and promotional materials, lending a notion of authenticity to the brand. We made this beer what it is. It’s time to bring it on home.
Why do you want to Bring Pabst Home?
We see this as a tremendous opportunity to build community wealth through collective ownership of a brand whose image stems from its Milwaukee roots. It belongs here, plain and simple.
What are you trying to buy exactly?
We’re trying to purchase the Pabst brand, the holdings of which includes many other American beer brands your grandparents drank, such as Blatz and Schlitz. If we are successful, the corporate offices will move back to Milwaukee, bringing with it a revenue stream benefitting the city and its residents.
Pabst doesn’t actually own a brewing operation – it contracts out this aspect of its business to MillerCoors, who brews the beer in Milwaukee and at several other facilities around the country.
Has this worked before?
Similar types of business models have worked, but honestly, that isn’t the point. Great things can happen when people explore new possibilities.
Who will own the brand?
We’re still gathering feedback from the community and investigating ownership models, but we rather fancy the multi-stakeholder cooperative. This model allows many types of investors to purchase shares, and each investor would own part of the brand.
Who will benefit from PBR ownership?
We’re still gathering feedback from the community, but our vision is for all profit to benefit the people of Milwaukee. We’re not yet at a point to make decisions about fund disbursement – we’re working toward that point through continued community engagement.
Additionally, when Pabst left town in the 1990s, a lot of workers lost pensions and health-care benefits. We see this as an opportunity to right those wrongs.
How much will it cost?
Beer industry analysts project the selling price to be between 500 million and one billion dollars.
Where will the start-up capital come from?
From you and me and hundreds of thousands of folks like us – people who want to be part of a people and community centered approach to business.
How can I get involved to help Bring PBR Home?
We’re so glad you asked! The best thing you can do is let us know what you think. We’re hosting a series of community meetings, beginning April 23rd at Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery at 5:30pm, and we’d love it if you’d attend. While you’re at it, invite your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to come along.
If you have a specific skill you’d really like to lend, such as graphic design, marketing, or legal document structuring, drop us a line! We’re always looking for volunteers.
And who are you?
We’re a group of people who love Milwaukee. We see ourselves as the folks who started this conversation and continue to facilitate it, but we’re not the owners of it. We’re doing this for the community of Milwaukee, and the strength of the project lies in those community roots and voices.