New beers become available in Texas all the time. Brews from the country’s oldest brewery becoming available here – that happens just once.
In January, Yuengling – pronounced “ying-ling” – announced that it would begin brewing and distributing beer in Texas. It’s a big deal for the 192-year-old Pennsylvania brewery. Despite its long history, Yuengling is only available in 23 states – now including Texas. It’s a staple of taps and coolers further east, but largely unavailable elsewhere.
“One thing about Yuengling, it always had kind a cult beer reputation,” said Mark Noon, assistant professor of English at Bloomsburg University and the author of “Yuengling: A History of America’s Oldest Brewery.”
“You’d often hear stories about people who would come to the east and into states where Yuengling was available and they would smuggle a beer in the back of their … cars or SUVs,” he said.
In Texas, Yuengling’s brewers will work out of the Molson Coors facility in Fort Worth. Yeast from the Pottsville Pennsylvania brewery, and the Yuengling family recipe book arrived there last week via armored car.
The move to Texas is part of a plan by Yuengling and brewing giant Molson Coors Beverage Company to expand the regional favorite’s geographic footprint. Whether that will raise the hackles of folks back east remains to be seen, according to Noon.
“[Yuengling’s] always been kind of considered an underdog in a sense in the brewing industry,” Noon said. “It was a small family-owned business, and that was part of its appeal that it was it really wasn’t a big corporation. And I think that it is certainly something to think about if you might be losing its image a little bit as it becomes bigger and bigger.”
Yuengling products will be available in Texas this fall. Noon thinks that its flagship beer – Traditional Lager – might be especially popular among Texans, particularly in the summer.
“It has a nice body to it, a richer body than your typical pilsners and so forth,” he said. “It does have that really good thirst-quenching quality to it that I think Texans would certainly appreciate.”