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Photo by Adrienne Kelley / Unsplash

When I was a college student in Texas, I told someone at a bar that I was from Pennsylvania. The guy’s eyes lit up. “Pennsylvania?!” the man exclaimed. “That means you get to drink Yuengling whenever you want!”

Yes, I mused, with a shrug and a swig of my Shiner Bock. So what? The barfly informed me he was such a big fan of America’s Oldest Brewery — established 1829 — that he and his family would haul cases of the traditional lager, Smokey and the Bandit style, back to the Lone Star State any time they traveled east of the Mississippi.

Fast-forward (just!) a few years, and Yuengling is now available in twenty-six states. Texas, my old friend would be tickled to know, was the first western state to get a taste of Yuengling back in 2021. Yuengling has been steadily expanding its footprint since 2020, when the company formed a 50-50 partnership with Molson Coors.

Yet 2023 was its real red-letter year. As sales of Budweiser products tanked in the wake of the company’s partnership with trans activist Dylan Mulvaney, Yuengling saw its sales surge by 25 percent; that was compared to Coors Light’s 21.6 percent boost and Miller Light’s 16.9 percent bump.

So what is it about this beer that’s made it stand the test of time — a time that included both Prohibition and the Great Gay Bar Boycott of 2016, when Dick Yuengling Jr. endorsed Donald Trump for president and Eric Trump visited the company’s Pottsville brewery, causing gay bars to lose their collective mind?

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In praise of Yuengling
The Yuengling brewery itself is an impressive hunk of brick antiquity, built into the side of a hill in the style of an old firehall. To tour