Ladies and gentlemen, as I was listening to NPR this morning (technically JPR, the State of Jefferson’s public radio station), I was amazed to hear the following bit of trivia. The barrels have been tallied and the results are in: Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery, has surpassed the Boston Beer Company (maker of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, among many other beers) as the largest American beer maker. This title, long held by Anheuser-Busch (makers of the beer-like beverages Budweiser, Bud Light, and the much anticipated Bud Light Platinum) until they were sold to the Belgian beverage giant InBev a few years ago (which is clearly a waste of characters for me to repeat if you’ve ever read this blog before*), and more recently locked down by our friends in Boston, has finally been brought home to Pottsville, PA. Credit for breaking this story of course goes to the Allentown Morning Call (Lehigh Valley’s Newspaper).
I’d tell you more about Pottsville and Allentown (you know how I love geography lessons), but Wikipedia is currently blacked out to protest legislation that would significantly curtail freedom of information on the internet, and I’m utterly helpless without Wikipedia. Call your congressman. Seriously.
*Just in case you really haven’t ever read this blog before and wondered about the other “big American breweries,” Miller is now owned by S.A.B. Miller, a company formerly known as South African Brewing and now based in the U.K., and Coors is owned by the Canadian company formerly known as Molson (now Molson Coors).
D. G. Yuengling & Son was originally founded in 1829 by a German immigrant who hoped to quench the thirst of hard working Pennsylvania coal miners. Yuengling itself was long a bit of a shibboleth for beer drinkers in the region. Regardless of what you claimed to know about “craft beer” or “micro-brews”, if you didn’t know about Yuengling then you didn’t know shit about Pennsylvania beer. I was once roundly mocked by a group of friends when I visited Philly in college and asked what a Yuengling was when the waitress was taking beer orders. Today Yuengling is brewed in Florida along with its original home in Pottsville, and it appears that its recent expansion into the Ohio market has put the old girl over the top. With production estimated at 2.5 million barrels in 2011, I’d say the brewers at Yuengling have earned a solid huzzah from the Aleheads. Call them a craft brewery or don’t (though I wouldn’t recommend the latter if you’re in PA or upstate NY) but they’re owned by Americans, brewed in America, and have been filling pints in the good ol’ U-S-of-A for a hundred and eighty three years now. Cheers to you, Yuengling, keep up the good work, and for god’s sake don’t sell your souls to the heathen gods of BudMillerCoors!