BuyABeerCompany.com presents the most ambitious crowdsourcing effort yet: USD 300,000,000 for the Pabst Brewing Co. The 165-year-old firm, third-largest beer company in the US (going by 2008 sales), was originally sent to market by the IRS in 2000 as tax laws would not permit ownership by the non-profit Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation. Failure to meet the 2005 sales deadline saw it extended to 2010. With this deadline now imminent, two US ad agencies are ringing the bell for last orders from the beer-drinking crowd.
Hollywood-based Forza Migliozzi and New York's The Ad Store are the two firms behind the venture. They're asking (legal-age) fans of Pabst's 25 brands to pledge between USD 5 and 250,000 each towards acquisition of the company. Money will only be accepted if the full purchase amount is reached, at which point all contributors will get "a crowdsourced certificate of ownership as well as enough beer to match their pledge".
While BeerBankRoll promised the crowd control over the business plan for a pub and brewery, no crowdsourcing of decisions is mentioned on the BuyABeerCompany website (in fact, Pabst owns brands and outsources brewing to MillerCoors). Still, if figures on the website can be trusted the idea is going down like a cold beer on a sunny day—over USD 11 million has been raised. It could be that fans of the cheap-but-hip Pabst Blue Ribbon are just the crowd to go for community ownership, though whether 60 million will stump up five dollars each remains to be seen.
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