If you ever travel to Pottsville – a town tucked in the mountains within the coal region of Pennsylvania, you will become an advocate for Yuengling - America’s most potable Lager (in my opinion). It’s great that it’s the country’s oldest brewery and that they use high quality water perculating through the mountains, but much more importantly….you will realize that it’s a large region that collectively would really appreciate your business. You also see that Yuengling is an underdog, they aren’t sleek, hip, or flashy and they’re not endowed with a marketing budget of envy. Basically, they’re a family-owned business that wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for the seriously blue-collar customers (and employees) who spent days and nights in coal mines and steel mills. While this sounds like stuff of lore, it isn’t. Beer making may be a hip pursuit in parts of the country that have fine tasting microbrews – but, it wasn’t and isn’t in Pottsville , not in the slightest.
Yuengling is still considered very small when you compare to industry bohemoths like Anheuser-Busch Inbev, SABMiller, and Molson Coors – who, colleectively, make-up 80% of the market in the U.S. Yuengling, on the other hand, produces 1-2 million barrells of beer a year to earn a 0.6% market share in the U.S….tiny compared to the several billion produced by Anheuser-Bush (50% market share, 30,000 employees, $16B in revenue). The interesting sidebar here is that Anhueser-Bush, Miller and Coors were all acquired by foreign conglomerates over the last few years. What this means is that the real money earned by these companies is going abroad, rather than to St. Louis, Milwaukee and Golden, Co. This leaves Pabst, Sam Adams and Yuenling vying for the #1 American beer company. Pabst and Sam Adams were both ahead of Yuenling last year. Pabst is in fact contract brewed by SABMiller – meaning, it’s more of a label than a beer company. Sam Adams is nationally and internationally distributed and had a small lead on Yuengling, who will likely pass Sam Adams this year or next in volume.
Yuengling will soon by America’s #1 brewer and it’s a Pennsylvania company. Although, this may feel insignificant - those guys who work in the coal mines and steel mills might feel a bit differently.