Kerry Byrne, who is a food/drink/sports/whatever he wants writer for the Boston Herald and the mastermind behind the very good pro football website, Cold Hard Football Facts, has a story in the paper today about how things have changed up in Beantown for Yuengling Brewing after its auspicious launch into that market this past March.
Pennsylvania-based Yuengling Lager hit the Bay State with a bang back in March. Today it’s in the fight of its life to win over Boston beer drinkers.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat that it’s been a very competitive market, more competitive than any market we’ve seen before,” said Yuengling chief operating officer David Casinelli, a beer industry legend who turned a stale regional brand into a fast-growing powerhouse.
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“(Yuengling) was hot out of the gates and hit a wall fast,” said Matt Mooney, the beer buyer at Boston Beer Garden in South Boston. “We sold three kegs of it the first Monday alone. Before long we were down to one keg a week.”
Boston Beer Garden recently kicked Yuengling off its draft list in favor of faster-selling brands.
“The novelty has worn off,” said Adam Hawk, manager at the Baseball Tavern in Fenway.
This is new territory for the nation’s oldest family owned brewer, which is used to entering a market, enjoying the big fuss and then settling in comfortably with a solid on-premise presence.Then again, everybody’s fighting for tap handles these days–it’s the biggest issue of the year in craft even if not yet officially acknowledged as such–so maybe this is not as a big deal as it appears? David Casinelli certainly sounded like he felt that was the case when he talked to Craft Business Daily for today’s issue which just arrived in my email and pushed back a bit:
But perhaps the article author had an agenda. Yuengling COO Dave Casinelli told us he’s gotten a lot of feedback from wholesalers on the piece. One of them spoke to the manager at the Baseball Tavern in Fenway who was quoted as saying “the novelty has worn off” for the brand. What the article didn’t include was the second half of that quote: “but the sales continue, and it’s a solid brand.”