Patience has finally paid off for Yuengling fans in Indiana.
The Pennsylvania-based brewery’s beloved Traditional Lager, Light Lager and Black and Tan were first poured locally on March 6, with some bars opening at 7 a.m. for the occasion.
Though the country’s oldest brewery was founded in 1829, it has only ventured west in the past couple of years, coming to Ohio in 2011.
Nationwide, Yuengling is served in Washington, D.C., and in 20 states, mostly along the East Coast.
In order to make it out west, Yuengling had to ensure it had the capacity to satisfy the demand it would see in Indiana, said Stan Ziherl, president of 5 Star Distributing.
Then, it selected Indiana wholesalers, with Columbia City’s 5 Star, as well as Indiana Beverages and Monarch Beverage, making the list.
“The brewery makes the decision based on who they feel would be best to handle their brands,” Ziherl said, adding he believed 5 Star was selected “based on the capability of the team we’ve assembled (and) our commitment to customer service.”
Yuengling first became available in bars and restaurants, with package sales scheduled to begin April 3. “The brewery is going through a packaging renovation,” Ziherl said.
What does a Yuengling taste like?
Yuengling’s Traditional Lager is “amber looking with a real crisp taste and clean finish, no fruitiness, you’re tasting primarily a malt that Yuengling uses.”
— Deer Park Irish Pub owner Tony Henry
This had created a little confusion among customers, Lebamoff’s Cap ‘n’ Cork owner Andy Lebamoff said. “We’re starting to get a lot of calls” seeing if the product is in stores, he said.
Although Hoosiers are excited about Yuengling, Lebamoff doesn’t expect his stores to have to do a major cooler overhaul. Due to the amount of beer Yuengling is sending to the state, Lebamoff said he only expects a couple hundred cases per store of the products.
Yuengling has already received a warm welcome.
“We had a launch party here at the Embassy (Theatre March 2) and had 600 retail customers,” Ziherl said. “(March 6) was our first day of delivery and we made deliveries at 7 a.m. Everybody is waiting.”
Some of the bars who opened bright and early to provide customers their Yuengling fixes included O’Sullivan’s and Deer Park Irish Pub, both in Fort Wayne.
Deer Park Irish Pub wanted to be the first to serve Yuengling locally, so it sent several workers out at 6 a.m. to pick up kegs from 5 Star’s warehouse.
“It was really more of our wanting to really validate our customers … wanting Yuengling in our state (who have) never been afforded that opportunity until today,” Deer Park owner Tony Henry said. “We thought it would be an outward gesture on our part, this is how much we care about you. We opened at 7 just to celebrate.”
“Knowing it was coming, a lot of people really wanted it,” O’Sullivan’s owner Frank Casagrande said. “We wanted to be one of the first to have it. A lot of customers couldn’t wait.”
When asked why Yuengling was such a popular beer, many shared the same answer: its longevity in the United States and its true-to-tradition taste.
“What they do is make an outstanding beer,” Ziherl said. “They’ve always stayed tried and true to their culture of tradition, heritage, authenticity and quality.”