Beer: Yuengling arrives in Ohio

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From the Beer: Yuengling arrives in Ohio edition

Three labels from Yuengling & Son Inc., America’s oldest brewery, will be available in Central Ohio for the first time ever as of Monday, Oct. 3.

Judging from the sheer joy already resounding from Buckeye drinkers, you might think that the Pottsville, Pennsylvania, brewery was handing out its Traditional Lager, Light Lager and Black & Tan for free.

(For the record, it’s not.)

“The hype, the buzz is absolutely incredible,” said Pat Noone, business development manager for the brewery, which was founded in 1829. “I’ve been in business for 37 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Ohio is going to set the standard for future market openings for Yuengling.”

Ohio will be the 14th state in Yuengling’s national distribution footprint. It’s the last state bordering Pennsylvania to get the beer.

“It’s like forbidden fruit when there’s a beer that you can’t get legally in the state,” said Mark Florig, bartender at Bob’s Bar in Beechwold. “You always hear about people smuggling Yuengling back from South Carolina or Pennsylvania. I think it will do pretty well here.”

Days of longing and bootlegging are over as the brewery releases its packaged and draft wares simultaneously in the Columbus area. Some parts of the state will receive the beer during a secondary launch later this month.

The first three labels will be doled out to local bars, restaurants and bottle shops by the Columbus Distributing Company, one of the area’s largest beverage operations.

“Going into a new state, I don’t want to confuse the consumer by offering seven or eight brands,” Noone explained. “I want the consumer to get used to the brand.”

Eventually, the company will ship additional beers, starting in February with its Bock. Soon after, Ohio will see the Porter and Lord Chesterfield Ale. Come August, the company will introduce an Oktoberfest selection, then the Premium Beer and Premium Light Beer next October.

“It’s a hot brand,” Noone said. “Last year, we sold more than two million barrels’ worth of beer. That’s more than Sam Adams.”