Page 13 - 2012 Lycoming Summer Magazine

In all, he enjoyed his
collegiate experience,
especially having the op-
portunity to play baseball
for Budd Whitehill. But
at the time, he already
knew what he wanted
to do with the rest of his
life. So, as an 18-year-old
with an entrepreneurial
bloodline, he left Lycom-
ing College after just
two semesters with his
mind set on working at
the brewery. Roughly 20
years later, he would buy the company
from his ailing father and become presi-
dent. And what he’s been able to accom-
plish since that time speaks volumes.
He is the fifth-generation Yuengling
to own the business. When he assumed
control in 1985, sales were sluggish and
the company was on the verge of bank-
ruptcy. Among the significant decisions
he made to bolster sales were to reintro-
duce a decades-old lager and add a light
beer to Yuengling’s product line. And by
purchasing a production and distribution
plant in Tampa, Fla., from Stroh’s brew-
ery in 1999, he’s been able to increase
overall capacity and make important
inroads throughout the Southeast. From
1997
to 2007, Yuengling managed to
double the company’s volume.
Today, according to the Brewers As-
sociation, which tabulates production
statistics for U.S. breweries, of the top 50
brewing companies based on 2011 beer
sales volume, Yuengling is ranked fourth
behind the industry’s big three: Anheuser-
Busch Inc., MillerCoors and Pabst Brew-
ing Co.
We went from 127,000 barrels when
I bought the company to 2.5 million last
year,” Yuengling said. “The three major
breweries, which have about 80 percent
of the beer business in the United States –
their sales are flat or down. And here we
are growing and we’re only in 14 states.
So it’s kind of neat. It’s a really gratifying
experience because we know where we
came from.”
Family-owned and operated in Potts-
ville, Pa., since 1829, Yuengling Brewery
proudly stakes its claim as America’s
Oldest Brewery. Originally founded as
the Eagle Brewery, the company is still
identified with the qualities of strength
and pride symbolized by the American
eagle. Each Yuengling label bears the
eagle trademark chosen by founder David
Yuengling, who migrated from Wurttem-
berg, Germany.
Yuengling says success in the beer
business comes down to one basic ele-
ment – volume.
You have to run your plants at capac-
ity,” Yuengling said. “We’re certainly
doing that here. We’re almost there at
the Tampa plant – the first year we got
about 60,000 to 70,000 barrels out of it
and this year they’ll do close to a million
barrels, so we’re growing in the South-
east. It’s just a matter of being patient
when you try to develop new markets.
And now it’s really taken off. We’re just
really lucky. It’s been quite a ride. It’s
interesting; there aren’t too many people
going through that in the manufacturing
business in this country today, whether
it’s beer or something else.”
To produce palate-pleasing beer,
Yuengling says it’s vital to have an
understanding of the various yeasts and
how they work. It’s the most critical
ingredient, as it carries through in the
beer’s flavor and character. He also says
it’s paramount to maintain extremely
clean facilities, because if the yeast gets
contaminated and is used, “the beer won’t
ferment correctly and you can really run
into trouble.”
While the company is content with its
product line that features seven different
beers, Yuengling is not afraid to develop
new flavors from time to time. Last year,
the brewery introduced Oktoberfest.
That was a real winner,” Yuengling
said. “We only produced it in kegs last
year, but we ran out before October 1. We
started out with the draft because there’s
really no investment other than the brew
itself. By doing it in kegs, you don’t have
to worry about packaging costs, such as
labels and 6-pack cartons and carriers.
We now plan to do Oktoberfest in bottles
and so far the enthusiasm with the orders
has been huge. Last year, our sales reps
did a great job with it. They wanted me
to do that to keep consumers’ interest on
different products. And it worked well.
That’s why you have salespeople and you
listen to them. If you don’t listen to your
people, there’s not much point in hav-
ing them. And you always hire someone
who’s smarter than you are, which in my
case, is most of our employees. It drives
the company.”
13
Lycoming’s Institute for Management Studies
students and faculty members were all smiles after
visiting the headquarters of D.G. Yuengling & Son
Inc. in Pottsville, Pa., on April 13. They had the
privilege of learning about the business side of the
brewery during an exclusive presentation by presi-
dent and CEO Dick Yuengling Jr.’66 (far left), who
also joined them on a guided tour of the facility.