Growing up in Wisconsin, there are a few things that are inescapable:
- Love of Cheese
- Love of the Green Bay Packers
- Polka Bands
The state is/was home to several breweries such as Miller, Pabst and Sprecher. They are part of the state’s heritage. As a child, I remember my grandfather drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon at his favorite neighborhood bar. Of course, this was long before Dennis Hooper noted his favorite beer in ‘Blue Velvet’ and the hipsters made it ‘hip.’ Regardless, the beer was an icon of the state and the brewery complex was comprised of some beautiful old buildings that became a part of who we were. It became Wisconsin, just like our beloved Packers.
Unfortunately, the company fell on hard times and went through several ownership changes. Would Wisconsin allow the famous Pabst to be brewed outside of the state known for it’s beer?!! Let’s fast forward to 2009 when Michael Migliozzi II and Brian William Flatow, two advertising executives, came up with a crazy idea to raise $300 million online through social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter and a website called buyabeercompany.com in order to purchase Pabst Blue Ribbon. Large investors wouldn’t understand the need or maybe even find the ROI to keep the brewery in it’s rightful home. However, the community understood the importance and passion of keeping the brewery right where it belonged, in Milwaukee.
Migliozzi and Flatow were dead-on in their understanding of power of social media and a passionate community and managed to get 5 million people raise $200 million before they caught the attention of the SEC. There were a few violations that just couldn’t be ignored. The two organizers never registered the offering with the SEC and approached unaccredited investors in a public fashion.
So, why does this failed attempt prompt me to promote Pabst Blue Ribbon as the official beer of crowdfunding?. Crowdfunding represents a change in power of business funding and allows people to support the projects important to them and communities where they live. Pabst represented Wisconsin. The only place where a city owns an NFL team. A humble place made up of a passionate community wanting to keep its heritage. What a perfect representation of the crowdfunding movement!
I’ll raise my glass filled with PBR, the official beer of crowdfunding, and toast the crowdfunding movement! Prost!