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News & Policy

PBGC Assumes Pension Plan of Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

May 23, 2006

WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced it has assumed responsibility for a pension plan covering 532 workers and retirees of bankrupt Pittsburgh Brewing Co., Pittsburgh, Pa., maker of Iron City Beer and other brands.

Pittsburgh Brewing filed an application with the PBGC on January 31, 2005 to terminate the plan. The company entered chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 7, 2005, and sought bankruptcy court approval of the plan termination on March 17, 2006. The court has ruled that the company satisfies the legal test for terminating the plan, and the PBGC has determined that it meets all criteria under federal law to transfer its pension liabilities to the pension insurance program.

The Pittsburgh Brewing Co. Pension Plan ended as of April 1, 2005, after being frozen since 1995.

The PBGC estimates the plan is 50 percent funded, with about $12 million in assets to cover nearly $24 million in promised benefits. The PBGC expects to be responsible for $11 million of the $12 million shortfall.

Workers covered by the plan will receive their pension benefits up to the limits set by law. Retirees will continue to receive monthly benefit checks without interruption, and other workers will receive their pensions when eligible to retire. Under federal pension law, the maximum guaranteed pension at age 65 for participants in plans that terminate in 2005 is $45,614 per year. The maximum guaranteed amount is lower for those who retire earlier or elect survivor benefits. In addition, certain early retirement subsidies and benefit increases made within the past five years may not be fully guaranteed.

Within the next several weeks, the PBGC will send trusteeship notification letters to all participants in the terminated pension plan. Workers and retirees with questions may consult the PBGC Web site, or call toll-free at 1-800-400-7242. For TTY/TDD users, call the federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask for 800-400-7242.

Retirees of Pittsburgh Brewing Co. who draw a benefit from the PBGC may be eligible for the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit. Further information may be found on the PBGC Web site at

Termination of the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. Pension Plan, a single-employer plan, does not affect the IUE-CWA Pension Fund, an ongoing multiemployer pension plan whose several employer-sponsors include Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

The PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 30,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and by investment returns.

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PBGC No. 06-48