Although the popularity of craft beer may be peaking today, craft beer is by no means a new phenomena. Although the terms, microbrewery, brewpub and craft beer might be relatively new, craft beer is not. Craft beer has been around virtually as long as man himself has been civilized.
In Europe and around the world people have been brewing their own beer for centuries. In the United States, before the advent and market domination of your traditional American lagers, virtually everyone brewed their own beer; a trend that experienced a Renaissance during the Prohibition years.
But by the end of the1970s however, the beer industry in the United States had been condensed to only 44 breweries and some saw that trend continuing; the thought was that the American brewing industry would continue to contract and that there would soon be only a handful of breweries left in the USA.
But contrary to what the experts thought, a grassroots brewing culture was beginning to take shape.
A few hardy mom and pop breweries had managed to hold on and weather the storm of the mass produced light lagers in the 1970s, and then in the 1980s the micro-brewing pioneers of today’s craft beer industry began to emerge.
And today, craft beer microbrewers are as thick as flies on a cow in a pasture. The market share of the traditional beer breweries continues to shrink as the popularity of craft beer continues to explode; demonstrating that people want a little bit more from their beer.
But in spite of the renewed vitality of the industry, there is one of these breweries in America that is older than them all, the D.G. Yuengling Brewery; founded in 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, the Yuengling Brewery is the oldest brewery in the United States.
The brewery is still family owned and operated (in its 5th generation), and still operates in Pottsville as well as in another facility in Tampa, Florida that was purchased from the Stroh’s Brewery in 1999.
The Pottsville brewery is unique in its history. Before the advent of refrigeration, their beer was fermented in hand dug caves and today the brewery offers tours of those caves, where a visitor can take a walk back through time to a different age of brewing.
Today, the Yuengling Brewery is not only America’s oldest, but it is also the largest craft brewer in the United States in terms of volume. And this was accomplished in spite of the fact that Yuengling beer was only available in19 states.
But beginning this month, March of 2017, Indiana will become the 20th state where Yuengling Brewery’s beers are distributed.
“We will start with draft beer only, the week of March 6th,” said Liza Hilliard, in charge of Sales Development at Indiana Beverage, the company that will distribute Yuengling in the state of Indiana.
“Package goods will be available at liquor stores beginning in the first week of April. We are starting with Yuengling’s traditional lager, a light lager and a black and tan.”
The profile of the consumer drinking Yuengling beer covers a broad scope, from the craft beer lover to the loyal light beer drinker. Regardless of your preference, Yuengling appeals to all beer drinkers.
“This is so exciting,” continued Hilliard. “People have been smuggling Yuengling into Indiana like they used to smuggle Coors Beer in before it was available here. There is not another brewer of this caliber.”
There have been sampling parties for tavern owners in advance of the launching in Lake, Porter and La Porte counties and there will be a few launch parties as well, including one at Region Ale, 1080 US Route 41 in Schererville on Tuesday, March 7th from 6:00 pm until midnight.
“The consumers are waiting for it, the bars are opening up tap lines in anticipation of it, and package liquor stores are clearing shelf space in anticipation of its arrival; and we at Indiana Beverage are really, really happy to have it,” said Hilliard.
“Our family has been in business in Indiana for five generations, and to partner with America’s oldest brewery is both humbling and powerful,” said Bruce Leetz, the owner of Indiana Beverage.
“Yuengling has a lot of exciting things happening in 2017, and this expansion into the great state of Indiana is the first of several announcements,” said Dick Yuengling, the owner and President of Yuengling Brewery.
For more information on D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., please visit www.yuengling.com. Persons interested in learning more about the history of the Yuengling Brewery can watch their informative video on YouTube.
For more information about upcoming beer related events interested parties can visit www.219beer.com or check out the Facebook page.