Contenders for the Throne: Who Will Be the New King of Beers?
All-American upstarts vie for Budweiser's former title.
With St. Louis out of the running, the battle has gone feverishly colonial, with the Boston Beer Company (SAM) -- aka Sam Adams -- squaring off with Pennsylvania’s Yuengling & Son, Inc., maker of the intimidating-to-pronounce, yet easy-to-drink Yuengling Amber Lager.
Both companies produce around 2 million barrels annually, but for now, the Beantown Brew has got the upper hand.
While there isn’t any documented (at least to my knowledge) feud between these 2 companies, it’s high time that one began. After all, there’s nothing like good, old fashioned regionalism to get the competitive juices flowing. With economists and politicians declaring that America needs to start making things on its own again, the nation deserves -- nay, it demands! -- that consumers start buying more domestic beer.
And now that winter has turned to summer (spring was purchased, I’m told, by the Chinese), it’s incumbent upon any decent, beer-loving citizen to get off the fence and pick their poison. Now that the King of Beers has gone European, we need to crown a new king --er, president -- of American beers. Here’s a little background on both companies.
Boston Beer Company
Samuel Adams was an American patriot and beer brewer who, rumor has it, was so ugly that the company that bears his name today opted instead to use for its bottle labels a picture of the slightly more attractive Paul Revere.
In 1985, the Boston Beer Company launched its Samuel Adams brand using a lager recipe dating back to 1860. The beer became wildly successful, and the company went public in 1995.
Despite Sam’s prominence in New England, the beer was initially brewed in -- get ready -- Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. Since then, Sam Adams has been produced under contract in Portland, Cincinnati and Rochester, New York.
In a particularly nefarious swipe at Pennsylvania beer loyalists, Sam Adams is now being made in Latrobe - in the former Rolling Rock plant. If Pennsylvania wasn’t filled with peace loving Amish and self-flagellating Philadelphians, Bostonians might take note of their egregious expansion and prepare for a serious backlash.
Even though Boston’s own is sort of made by everybody else, that doesn’t stop Sox fans from enjoying a cold one whenever the mood may strike. And enjoy them they most certainly do. Earlier this month, the Boston Beer Company was named the number 1 Craft Brewery by the Brewers Association.
Yuengling & Son, Inc.
Next time you’re in southeastern Pennsylvania, order a “lager” and within seconds you’ll be face to face with a Yuengling. That’s because this regional brew is so popular, no other lager will do. But, Yuengling wasn’t always the brand on the tip of everyone’s tongues.
“When I was a kid, the cool people would never be caught with Yuengling - it was only for coal miners,” writes one commenter on Philly.com.
Yuengling’s ascent may not have been as meteoric as Sam Adams’, but it’s every bit as tinged with history. When Yuengling got its start in 1829 -- making it America’s oldest brewery -- every Pennsylvanian was a coal miner. At least it probably seemed that way. After a few years of startup, a burned down brewery and a battle with prohibition, the company began expanding throughout New York, New Jersey and Delaware.
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