America’s Oldest Brewery Continues to Make History

May 18, 2017

Not many companies can boast about their age. Times change. Tastes change. Traditions change. So any company – in any market – would find it challenging to remain relevant for 188 years. But local brewery D.G. Yuengling & Son has defied the odds.

Founded in 1829, this family-owned brewery is the oldest in North America. And the sixth generation of Yuenglings is still literally making a “case” for today’s beer drinkers.

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the creativity and entrepreneurship of the third generation owner, Frank D. Yuengling,” said Jennifer Yuengling. “During the Prohibition era, Yuengling survived by producing ‘near beer’ with a 0.5% alcohol content. They also ran a dairy which produced ice cream.”

The company was started in Pottstown, PA by German brewer David Yuengling, who had immigrated to the U.S. He first called it the “Eagle Brewery,” but changed its name to D.G. Yuengling and Son in 1873, after his son Frederick joined the company. The bald eagle emblem remained even after the name change.

Today, the company is owned and operated by Jennifer’s father, Dick Yuengling, Jr., with Jennifer and her sisters, who are poised to keep the company going for many years to come.

Yuengling now has breweries in both PA and Tampa, FL and has released several very popular new offerings in the past decade, including Yuengling India Pale Lager, Oktoberfest and Summer Wheat Beer.

As my conversation with Jennifer continued, she pointed out some exciting new developments. Most noteworthy is the fact that Yuengling is still receiving major awards in the beer industry. In 2016, the Brewers Association’s named it #1 on its list of the Top 50 Craft Brewers in the Nation for the third year in a row. “It was an honor to be in a ‘friendly competition’ with the 2nd place winner of the past three years,” said Jennifer. She was referring to Jim Koch, owner of The Boston Beer Company, whom she considers a pioneer in the craft beer market.

Another exciting development for the brewery is their first product packaging and branding update in three decades. The new design continues to showcase their rich heritage by keeping the original eagle and barrel symbols. “We believe this gives our brand a more modern image and allows our product to ‘pop’ on the shelf,” said Jennifer. “It’s a simple design,” she continued, “clearly a case of making more out of less.”

Jennifer Yuengling is heavily involved with the company’s marketing efforts to increase brand awareness among the next generation of beer drinkers. The company recently announced a sponsorship agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies, which is the team’s first new beer sponsor in nearly 40 years! The sponsorship includes large signage in left field, which prominently features the brewery’s flagship beer, Yuengling Traditional Lager. Jennifer mentioned how excited everyone at the brewery is about this new partnership. She recalled going to games as a kid and hearing her father talk fondly about attending games at the legendary Connie Mack Stadium. This partnership is clearly a throwback to some very happy memories.

Another great initiative is Yuengling’s Lagers for Heroes. Yuengling makes an annual contribution to the VFW’s National Veterans Service Program. Consumers can donate $10 by texting HERO to 27722.Additionally this year, participating retailers will run a “donate-at-purchase” program, which is expected to be especially relevant to consumers over Memorial Day and July 4th.Proceeds from the 2017 Yuengling Lagers for Heroes Campaign directly supports veterans.

As you can see, Yuengling continues to be a dominant presence in our region, no doubt poised to make history for another 100 years. It’s exciting to watch this nearly 200-year-old brewery pack tradition and innovation into every case of beer.

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