If you are wondering which is the oldest operating brewing company in the realms of the United States, look no further- it’s Yuengling, and it is also one of the largest breweries by volume in the country.
Yuengling is an Anglicized version of Jüngling, its founder’s surname and German for “young man”. It was established in 1929 by the David Gottlieb Jungling who had immigrated from Germany to the States a year before; for generations, the brewery was passed from father to son as a family business.
David Gottlieb began the “Eagle Brewery” on Center Street in Pottsville in 1829. His eldest son, David, Jr., left the Eagle Brewery only to establish the James River Steam Brewery which found its place along the James River in Richmond, Virginia. The first brewery was diminished after a fire in 1831, so David switched the location to W. Mahantongo Street at 5th Street. Once David was joined by his son, Frederick Yuengling, the brewery changed its name to “D.G. Yuengling and Son” in 1873. Despite the name change, the emblematic bald eagle remained as the notable sign of the company. In the forthcoming decades, the business flourished and new breweries were opened on a couple of other locations as well.
So it was truly a carefully tailored family business, which saw the turn of the century, and eventually survived through one of the most notorious events which particularly targeted breweries and beer lovers- the Prohibition Era.
During the time being of the Prohibition, the brewery was run by Frank D. Yuengling, and it survived by producing “near beers”, beverages that do not have more than 0.5% percentage of alcohol. Three brands of such beers were launched, called “Yuengling Special”, “Yuengling Por-Tor”, and “Yuengling Juvo”. In addition, the company also ran a dairy which produced ice cream and even opened dance halls in Philadelphia and New York City.
On 5th December 1933, the Prohibition finally came to an end; the 21-st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, repealing the 18-th Amendment which triggered the era of national alcohol prohibition in America 13 years ago. The ceremonial moment happened at 5:32 PM EST, when Utah became the 26th state to ratify the new amendment, achieving the required three-fourths majority of approval from the states.
This was, undoubtedly, a cherished moment. President Franklin Roosevelt had said as well, “What America needs now is a drink.” On the occasion, the Yuengling symbolically introduced its Winner Beer. And to further celebrate the repeal of the disrupted Prohibition, the brewery went on and shipped a truck load of its popular brew to the White House, to express appreciation and gratitude to President Roosevelt.
Frank kept on running the brewery until his death in 1963 and was later ran by his sons. Richard Yuengling took over the business in 1985, marking the fifth generation of company presidents.
The same year its Pennsylvanian brewery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as the oldest one in the US.