Guys Behind ‘Buy a Beer Company’ Bust Reach Settlement

By Kiran Aditham 

We were wondering whatever became of, the brainchild of Hollywood, CA-based Forza Migliozzi and The Ad Store that was launched in 2009 and was essentially a crowdsourced effort to raise $300 million to buy Pabst Brewing Company. Well, those scrooges at the SEC weren’t having it and last April, shut the site down after the two parties wound up raising $200 million in pledges (no money was actually ever received, so was the Commission’s move justified?).

According to Harvard Law & Policy Review, the reason the SEC stepped in was because the two men behind BuyABeer, Michael Migliozzi II and Brian William Flatow, “failed to properly register what amounted to a security issuance.” Now, after several months in stasis, the Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog reports that the two men have reached a settlement with securities regulators. Their lawyer, Steven Berkowitz, now says the pair never took their effort to buy Pabst seriously (neither did we, frankly) and that Migliozzi II and Flatow were just “a couple of friends in the ad business trying out an idea…Don Draper would be proud of them.”


Is it safe to call this a crowdsourcing cautionary tale? We’ve reached out to the Migliozzi camp for further comment. We’ll keep you posted.

Update: So we’ve been told that the Buy a Beer Company camp is not allowed to talk to the press about the settlement, but we’re hearing from sources that before the SEC ordered the site shutdown back in April 2010, the effort was about $20 million shy of the $300 million goal. The new Pabst Brewing Co. owners–the Metropolous family–meanwhile, paid about $250 million, though the change in management isn’t going quite smoothly.