The effort to buy Pabst has a core of seven people with various business and nonprofit backgrounds. It also has a Facebook page titled “Milwaukee Should Own Pabst Blue Ribbon” and a website at bringpbrhome.com, which lets visitors sign a letter to Metropoulos. The letter acknowledges that the purchase proposal might seem “crazy” but asks readers to “humor us for just a moment.”
“We want to bring PBR home,” reads the letter, expected to be sent next week.
In 1996, Pabst headquarters left and beer production ceased at the company’s main complex in downtown Milwaukee, opening a “gaping hole in our city’s economy,” according to the letter. PBR is now brewed in another part of town as part of a deal with MillerCoors.
Bringing Pabst back is less about the beer and more about “investing in the city of Milwaukee,” Seidelman said.
A letter to the Milwaukee mayor and city council asks them to consider the purchase of Pabst using a community ownership model similar to that of the Green Bay Packers, in which the public buys stock that does not increase in value and pays no dividends. But, Seidelman said, they are also considering other options, including forming a cooperative.
Another organizer, Erika Wolf, said the group wants to hold town-hall-style meetings and online chats about how to buy and run PBR. The first meeting is scheduled for April 23.
Regardless of the business structure chosen, they want to put the profits back into the city, she said.
The group’s website was put together by the great-great granddaughter of brewery founder Frederick Pabst. Bridget Byrnes, a web designer in Missoula, Mont., volunteered after seeing the Facebook page. The return of Pabst back would hopefully create jobs and “bring Milwaukee back to the beer city it was.”