Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Yuengling Is Coming! The Yuengling Is Coming!

I wonder if Sam Adams would get pissed at his buddy Paul Revere if he rode from town to town yelling to the citizens of Massachusetts that Yuengling is coming to the Commonwealth.

For those of you who don't know what Yuengling is (it's pronounced Ying-ling), it's a beer from Pennsylvania, from the oldest brewery in America. It's a quality beer, in the same class as Sam Adams. Taste wise it's interesting like Sam, only more drinkable. It's good in a bottle but fantastic from the tap.

And after a 20-year absence it's returning to the Massachusetts market.

Those of us who have been introduced to Yuengling and fell in love with it are rejoicing. For years we've depended on friends and relatives travelling from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to supply us with Yuengling. There's a grey market (not quite a black market) trade along I-90 and I-84 of Yuengling Lager being legally smuggled to thirsty residents of Massachusetts.

Why has such an acclaimed beverage remained absent from Massachusetts markets?

That is where the Myth of Yuengling truly begins. Everyone has a theory to explain it. Some say that Sam Adams pressures Mass. lawmakers to keep Yuengling out. Others suggest that there's some obscure regulation about imprinting bottles and that Yuengling doesn't want to spend the extra money to do that. Even "official" explanations are cloudy and vague. When reading about this story one explanation from Yuengling was that in 1993 they left Mass. because demand wasn't high enough. Another explanation said they left because demand was too high and their out-of-state operations couldn't keep up. Which doesn't quite make sense that they would leave because demand for their product was too high.

Nobody seems to know exactly why Yuengling wouldn't cross the Hudson. But now they're returning. I wonder when they try to ship beer to Mass. in 2014 if their trucks will vanish into thin air when they try to cross the border.

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