LOS ANGELES -- The current owners of Pabst Brewing Co. are coming to the defense of the company's buyer, maintaining that the brewer will remain an American company.
"A number of inaccuracies have been reported about the parties that have agreed to acquire Pabst Brewing Company and their intentions for the business," the Pabst Brewing said in a statement. "We would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight."
According to the release, Pabst brewing, an American company since 1844, "will continue to be an American iconic brand with its headquarters in the U.S." It goes on to explain buyer Eugene Kashper's U.S. citizenship and his plans to maintain the brewery's headquarters in the United States.
"The future owners of Pabst--Eugene Kashper, TSG Consumer Partners and Cyprus-based Oasis Beverages--are deeply committed to Pabst's future as an American company. Beer-industry entrepreneur Kashper is a U.S. citizen who immigrated to the United States from Russia at the age of 6 in 1976," the company wrote. "Mr. Kashper is not a Russian citizen. He lives in New York and is a graduate of Columbia University. Eugene brings more than 20 years of experience in the beer industry including working with The Stroh Brewery Company in Detroit, as well as managing and operating breweries in Eastern Europe and CIS (Russian) countries. He has had a lot of success revitalizing heritage brands.
"Eugene will serve as the CEO of Pabst and the company's board will consist of Mr. Kashper, TSG managing director Brian Krumrei, and Brooklyn Brewery principal shareholder and COO Eric Ottaway, all U.S. citizens."
The statement clarifies the original press release about the deal, which read: "Eugene Kashper announced today that Oasis Beverages has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pabst Brewing Company," suggesting that the Cyprus-based company founded by Kashper is the major acquirer.
Media outlets, including CSP Daily News, placed the Russian connection in their headlines, causing outcry on discussion boards. Comments included "I refuse to drink a Russian owned beer," " The selling of America" and worse, leading to Pabst's clarification.
"Oasis plans to acquire a minority nonvoting interest in PBC as part of this transaction," the company stated.
Oasis Beverages is a Cyprus (a member of the European Union) based beer and soft-drink producer, co-founded by Kashper. Oasis serves as the exclusive importer and distributor of many well-known brands including Heineken, Erdinger, Perrier, Arizona Iced Tea, Krombacher, Oettinger, Carling and others.
San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners, meanwhile, is a well-known U.S.-based strategic equity group that has developed an excellent track record with consumer brands such as Pop Chips, Vitamin Water, Muscle Milk and many others. It is most recently known for buying Twinkies-maker Hostess Brands out of bankruptcy in March 2013 for $410 million.
"Kashper and TSG Consumer Partners have made a major commitment to the Pabst Brewing Co. and its iconic brands such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Lone Star, Old Milwaukee and others," Pabst Brewing said in its statement. "The goal is for the company to remain vibrant through consistent product and marketing innovation. We look forward to working with our new colleagues and to continuing our 170-year old tradition. PBR is a very strong brand with a rich heritage and authentic American values. Our new colleagues will remain vigilant in staying true to the brand's identity and will look to loyal customers for guidance."
The Pabst Brewing Co. is North America's largest privately held brewing company. Pabst Brewing's portfolio includes iconic brands with deep ties to America's heritage such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Lone Star, Rainier, Ballantine IPA, Schlitz, Old Style, Stroh's and Old Milwaukee.