Who's the country's biggest brewer?
A Pennsylvania company has surpassed Boston Beer to become No. 1, though it still has only 1.2% of the US market.
Anheuser-Busch, the maker of the No. 1 beer Bud Light? Nope. That's a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), which is based in Belgium.
How about MillerCoors, which makes No. 2 beer Coors Light? Nope. MillerCoors is a joint venture of London's SABMiller (SBMRY) and Molson Coors (TAP), which operates out of Montreal and Denver.
The biggest U.S. brewer is now D.G. Yuengling and Son, based in Pottsville, Pa., the Allentown Morning Call reports. Yuengling saw shipments soar 16.9% last year to 2.5 million barrels. As a result, it barely squeaked into first place, surpassing Sam Adams maker Boston Beer (SAM), which rose 8% to 2.4 million barrels.
"It just floors me that so much of our beer industry is owned by foreign concerns," Dick Yuengling, the brewery's fifth-generation owner, told the Morning Call. "We were not in any race to be the largest domestically owned brewer, but it's a tremendous honor for us."
And Yuengling's sales will likely increase for 2012 because it just started selling beer in its 14th state, Ohio, the Morning Call reported.
Yuengling's growth is even more remarkable because the industry has been in a prolonged slide. Total beer shipments fell by 1.4% last year, Advertising Age reported.
The beer industry saw another shakeup last year: Coors Light surpassed Budweiser to become the No. 2 beer. It was the first time in decades that Anheuser-Busch hasn't controlled the top two beers in the country.
The following video has more details about Budweiser's long slide.
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It's interesting, and a little sad, that Yuengling can be the top U.S. brewer but have only 1.2% of the market. The company ranks No. 8 in overall market share. Even Pabst Brewing Co. is bigger, but Pabst doesn't actually brew its own beer, so it doesn't count as a brewer. And North American Breweries, which sells Genessee and Magic Hat, gets much of its volume from Canada's Labatt beer, Advertising Age reported.
Americans seem to be just fine with drinking foreign-owned beer. When InBev took over Anheuser-Busch four years ago, some observers thought U.S. beer drinkers would revolt, Advertising Age reported. That hasn't happened.
"The average consumer has a short memory," one industry expert told the magazine.
For those of you ignorant and not in the know, Yuengling is the OLDEST American brewery, established in 1829, by a German brewer, David Gottlob Jüngling, who had his named changed to a more Anglican-sounding Yuengling. It's not Chinese folks.
I had the pleaseure of trying this beer for a week during a stay in Pittsburgh over 11 years ago, and it still lives in my memory as one of the FINEST beers I have ever had.
They didn't "re-brand" themselves as a yuppie beer, they produce over 9 beer styles and flavors, and have for longer than most. They did start reproducing some recipes that had been put aside, and these did help swing them into the micro-brew revolution, but they have always stood on their own.
I can only hope that we will see some more distribution someday, I'd love to get it here in Seattle.
I do agree the article's title is typical misleading journalism, but I'm glad that such a fine brewery and beer get some national notice.
Hit up Wikipedia if you want to read more about them.
Yuengling really is a good beer, a difficult choice between it or a Sam Adams every Saturday afternoon.
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Do it once a year. This allows the best-performing asset classes to take off and run.
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