Kent bars scramble for more Yuengling

Bryan Staul, 21-year-old junior political science major, enjoyed drinking Yuengling — which debuted in Ohio this week — at Ray’s Place in downtown Kent on Thursday, Oct. 6. “Everyone in my hometown drinks it,” said Staul, who is from Pennsylvania. Photo by Monica Maschak.

Jessica White

Hundreds of cases of Yuengling, America’s oldest lager, were sold in Kent this week after the brewery expanded its distribution to include Ohio.

Managers at Ray’s Place, 101 Bottles and Sheetz, among others, said the Pennsylvanian beer has been flying off the shelves since it hit stores Monday.

“The hype is crazy on it right now,” said Mike D’Alessandro, day manager at Ray’s Place. “For a good period of time, I think it’s going to be hot.”

D’Alessandro said Ray’s Place has gone through four kegs and expects to go through 12 by Monday — double what the restaurant usually sells in other popular beers like Bud Light or Miller Lite for one week.

101 Bottles manager Craig Contini said he sold nearly 90 cases in three days, while Sheetz manager Brandi Smallwood said the gas station was sold out after 50 cases. Both said their stores are rushing to get more.

D.G. Yuengling & Son, founded in 1829 in Pottsville, Pa., announced in June it would be entering the Northeastern Ohio and Columbus markets. Ohio is the 14th state the brewery has expanded into, the last among states bordering Pennsylvania.

“Consumer awareness of our brands is very high in Ohio,” said Pat Noone, Yuengling business development manager, in a statement. “Retailers in the state have anticipated our arrival for a long time, and it’s exciting to finally bring Yuengling Beer to our neighbors in Ohio.”

Abby Kraft, senior psychology major, said she has been waiting for Yuengling to come to Ohio for years.

“My brother’s girlfriend lived in Pennsylvania, and she used to bring it home to us,” Kraft said. “It’s basically the most amazing beer ever.”

D’Alessandro and Contini said they prefer other beers, but agreed Yuengling is a good, “easy-drinker” for a low price. A bottle or one-pint draft at Ray’s Place is $2.95; a six-pack at 101 Bottles is $5.99.

D’Alessandro said he is curious to see what brand, if any, customers will replace with Yuengling.

“Right now it’s hard to say because it looks like a little bit of everybody is trying (Yuengling),” he said. “People are trying it that normally drink beers like Great Lakes; people are trying it that normally drink Bud Light.”

Contini said sales might slow with competing Christmas beers around the corner, but he and D’Alessandro still expect the popularity to be long term.

“Gradually, over an extended period of time, I think the novelty of trying something you haven’t had before will wear down,” D’Alessandro said. “But for the get-go, and that get-go could be several months — maybe even longer than that, I think sales are going to be just incredible.”

Bryan Staul, a senior political science major from Pennsylvania, said other Pennsylvanian students will continue to support Yuengling.

“It does remind a lot of us of home,” Staul said. “It’s got a lot of heritage and history behind it.”

Yuengling’s Traditional Lager, Light Lager and Black & Tan are currently available in Columbus and Northeastern Ohio stores and bars, and should be available in most of the state by late October.

Contact Jessica White at [email protected].