Feds may take over Stroh Brewery pensions

DETROIT (AP) – The pensions of 3,000 former salaried Stroh brewery workers may be taken over by the federal government.

Stroh Companies said Friday it can’t afford the pensions without diminishing its own business, which is in real estate and other investments. Detroit-based Stroh is asking the government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to take the pension plan.

Stroh made beer in Detroit for more than a century and also had breweries in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The business was sold to Miller Brewing in 1999.

The plan has $140 million in assets but $180 million in liabilities. Stroh believes pensions won’t be cut if assumed by the government because they are less than the annual cap now set by the agency.

Stroh blames the pension problems on years of low interest rates.