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Yuengling teams up with Chicago’s Molson Coors to expand westward

The family-owned brewery known for its cheap German-style lager will remain independent.

Cases of canned Yuengling Traditional Lager are stacked in the warehouse of the D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery Mill Creek plant on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Pottsville, Pa.
D.G. Yuengling and Son, America’s oldest operating brewer, is expanding beyond its 22-state distribution area in the East.
AP file

Hey West Coast beer lovers, it’s pronounced YING-ling.

D.G. Yuengling and Son, America’s oldest operating brewer, is sending some cold ones your way for the first time since it began making beer in 1829.

The brewery, about two hours northwest of Philadelphia, announced a joint venture with Chicago-based Molson Coors on Tuesday to break out beyond its traditional 22-state distribution area in the East.

Raising beers to toast the new partnership with the Pennsylvania brewer, Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley said, “We’re going to make a whole lot of Yuengling fans out West really happy.”

The family-owned brewery known for its cheap German-style lager will remain independent. A six-member board of directors — three from Yuengling and three from Molson Coors Beverage Co. — will oversee Yuengling’s expansion starting in the second half of 2021.

Yuengling has two breweries in Pennsylvania and one in Florida. Molson Coors, the nation’s second-largest brewer, has seven primary breweries and six craft breweries.

The partnership gives Molson Coors a popular brand at a time when beer sales have gone flat. Beer sales fell 2% in the U.S. last year, with canned cocktails and hard seltzers gaining popularity, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group.

The companies said they will announce in a few months which western states will get Yuengling first. Yuengling is not yet available in Illinois but can be bought in parts of Indiana.

Jennifer Yuengling, vice president of operations and a sixth generation brewer, said the companies have talked of partnering for some time, and the time is right.