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I Can Celebrate With a Yuengling!

May 11, 2009 - Phyllis Sigal
Today I am marking 29 years in the newspaper business in the Ohio Valley.

It's hard to believe ...

Many of my co-workers weren't even born when I walked into The Times Leader in Martins Ferry for my first day of work in 1980, having just graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with an English degree.

Bill McNell was the editor at the time – a heck of an editor he was, too. We young reporters learned a lot from him.

One of the main things we learned was that if we were sitting in the office, we weren't getting our stories. He wanted us out and about as much as possible.

And when we heard a call on the scanner? Well, we were out the door practically before we knew where we were going. If the call ended up being nothing, at least we got there to personally find out if there was news or not.

I spent 18 and a half years there (as a reporter, a bureau chief, Lifestyles editor, then managing editor) before moving to this side of the river, where I've been for 10 and a half years.

... And I can celebrate my 29th anniversary today by walking into the grocery store and buying a six-pack of Yuengling beer, previously not available in the state of West Virginia.

Yuengling, American's Oldest Brewery, is based in Pottsville, Pa., and most Yuengling aficionados will drive the distance to our neighbor state to stock up.

People don't just like Yuengling. They love it. They have to have it. When they see it at a bar on tap, they're ecstatic! There just is a certain mystique about the beer. And it tastes great, too!

I know some people who have been counting down the days until they don't have to drive to another state for their favorite brew.

D.G. Yuengling & Son was founded in 1829 by 23-year-old David G. Yuengling, back when Andrew Jackson was president. The company has been a family-owned company for more than 180 years. The current president and owner is Dick Yuengling Jr., great-great-grandson of the founder.

It was in 1976 that the brewery was placed on the national and state registers as America's Oldest Brewery, just three years before it celebrated its 150th anniversary.

In 1985, Yuengling Jr. bought the company — which was having financial struggles at the time — from his father. He vowed to not be remembered as the Yuengling who presided over the demise of his family's legacy.

Thanks to his aggressive commitment, strong distribution network, the quality of the products and dedication of employees, the company made a phenomenal turnaround. ... with new products, a new brewery and a plant in Tampa, Fla. From 1997 to 2007, the brewery has doubled its volume.

At a sneak preview kick-off party last week — hosted by Carenbauer Distributing Corp. of Wheeling, the distributor in Ohio and Marshall counties — beer retailers and other guests got a chance to sample three beers in the Yuengling family. Lager, Light Lager and Black & Tan will be offered at bars, restaurants and stores in West Virginia. Draft is expected later this summer.

"The time has come .... and the Yuengling family of beers represents the final frontier. I can think of no other brand left in this country that has the potential to sastisfy consumers' tastes more than the Yuengling brands," said Carl Carenbauer, president/owner of Carenbauer Distributing.

Yep. The time has come.

And I think Yuengling and I will be celebrating together today.



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