POTTSVILLE, Pa. - Introduce a brand or product into any market of established competitors and the hope a year out is you're still afloat, at least and at best, competitive. Yuengling beer went beyond competitive on day one to dominant at the end of year one.
"Sales continue to be very strong in Northern Ohio and across the state," said Jim LaRose, president and chief operating officer of The House of LaRose, the Brecksville based distributor of the beer in an eight county area of Northern Ohio. "The brand is still performing at a level that is about double what was expected and what has occurred in other markets where Yuengling's been introduced."
The Pottsville, Pennsylvania based Yuengling, America's oldest brewery, debuted in Ohio on Oct. 3, 2011 with their Lager, Light Lager and Black & Tan brands.
Offerings now include Lord Chesterfield Ale, Yuengling Bock, Porter and their seasonal Oktoberfest beers.
As it is in the 13 other states where it's offered, the Lager brand is the big seller. "The Light brand continues to be stronger here than in most other markets," said LaRose.
"We're seeing some pretty good success with Black & Tan, Porter and Lord Chesterfield but more on a niche level than the other two," he said.
Yuengling is a family owned and operated brewery run presently by Dick Yuengling, the great grandson of the company found D.G. Yuengling who started the family business in 1829.
The beer makers survived the Civil War, World Wars I & II and prohibition but fell into a period in the 80s when small regional breweries were going under.
It was around this time in 1985 that Dick Yuengling took over the brewery and capitalized on the growing craft beer market. In 1987, he struck gold by introducing Yuengling Lager, an amber beer with a craft taste but at a domestic premium price.
With the expansion into Ohio last year, Yuengling has surpassed Samuel Adams of Boston as the nation's largest American owned brewery.
The challenge they face as they begin year two in Ohio is keeping the momentum going.
"As we hit the one year anniversary of course we're going to be up against some unbelievable numbers from a year ago but next year we look forward to continuing the growth path of the brand," said LaRose.