I grew up in State College, PA, a couple hours from Pottsville, which is the home of America’s oldest brewery, D.G. Yuengling and Sons. In my hometown, you can walk into any bar and ask for a “lager” or “porter” and the bartender knows you mean Yuengling. Back in the day, Yuengling was the good stuff, a locally brewed beer with more flavor than any of the other large commercial beers.
Nowadays when I visit home I skip Yuengling in favor of Otto’s Brewpub or one of the dozen or so craft beer taps at Zeno’s. I choose these other beers based mostly on the merit of their more interesting flavors, but now there is another good reason to avoid Yuengling. I have always known Dick Yuengling was a Republican (he was a Republican delegate in the 2000 election), but my loyalty to local beer trumped that flaw for a long time. Now the Teamsters are boycotting Yuengling because Dick cancelled their contract negotiations claiming that his workers no longer want union representation, which seems strange since brewery employees at Yuengling have been organized for over 50 years. Yuengling has declined several offers to reopen negotiations and has refused to produce the petition he claims the employees signed saying they were opting out of the union. The Teamsters claim employees were threatened with being fired if they didn’t sign the petition.
The whole thing smells bad to me. If you’re a Democrat or in favor of organized labor, I encourage to boycott Yuengling.
Oh, I included this in the Christmas Beer Series because Yuengling is also my dad’s favorite beer. That’s him in the picture wearing a tiara at my Birthday / New Year’s Eve party last night. You can’t really tell from the photo, but he’s got a bottle of Yuengling Light in his hand. Nothing personal dad, but bad politics mix badly with beer.