There has been a lot of talk about Yuengling coming into Boston since December. A few nights ago was the release party for Yuengling in the Boston area at the Boston Seaport:
And just about all of Boston went crazy:
I’ve also seen people get concerned that this will really hurt craft beer but I think we need to go into the past to really see if that is the case.
Back in 2004 I was introduced to Yuengling. I remember friends had bought it from across the border in North Carolina. It was interesting at the time because Imported beers were the king that everyone looked to as being a higher class. This being said it did seem like Yuengling had just a bit more flavor than Heineken or Becks.
I had moved from South Carolina to Massachusetts in 2005. In 2007 there was Yuengling everything all over every bar in Spartanburg. At the time you would have thought that RJ Rockers (the hometown brewery in Spartanburg) didn’t exist because of all of this. Fast-forward seven years later RJ Rockers is doing stronger than ever. I even drank a RJ Rockers “First Snow” at Rattle N’ Hum in New York City a few weeks back!
The fact it was brought in from North Carolina as my introduction to it, well let’s just talk about all the breweries that are popping up in Charlotte, Asheville, and the Triangle Area. In the past few years after Yuengling was released the following breweries opened up and have been successful:
and many many more are opening every day in North Carolina!
The excitement might already be gone by the time it is available in bars and stores:
But here we are Massachusetts, a lot of us are worried just a bit by the tap handles being taken over but actually we need to know what Yuengling actually is:
It was America’s first brewery in 1829. This being said the Lager is a bit like Bud Light but with a Caramel flavor to it. The fact that it is at the same price point will obviously bring more popularity and clout to being a popular choice at your local bar. To see the effects of this you have to look at the different types of beer drinkers there are out there.
Beer Drinker A: This beer drinker drinks nothing but Craft Beer. They would rather not drink at all than to touch a Coors, PBR, Bud Light, and ETC. Yuengling will have zero effect on this type of drinker and when you look at it they might have been the best thing to have happened to Craft Beer in Massachusetts. They are the gateway or one of a few gateways that will lead to becoming a craft beer drinker. Yuengling Lager is like Sam Adams but without as many hops and a crisp finish with the mouthfeel to go with it at then end. To quote what it is I will say this “Flavorable but Flat”. Beer Drinker A doesn’t go with flat! 10% of beer drinkers are Beer Drinker A and this number is rising!
Beer Drinker B: This beer drinker loves Craft Beer but will have a Miller High Life to not kill the budget on occasion. This person is someone who is adept to keep something cheap on standby but always appreciates a good craft beer more-so than not. Will this hurt Craft Beer? No. This person will drink it and replace some of those High Life’s with Yuenglings. This will replace Beer Drinker B’s craft beer consumption by 0%. I’m going to say without analytic evidence this is roughly 50-60% of beer drinkers in the market.
Beer Drinker C: This is a person who lives on Bud Light, Miller Light, etc… Not only this though but they also drink adjunct filled local options as well Like Narragansett (who is actually creating some new tasty beers), Old Style (Chicago) or Olympia (Pacific Northwest). The problem is that these beers is that they are falling out of favor with the modern-day consumer. Yuengling coming into an area like Boston cuts into the Bud Lights and the Narragansetts of the world. It does so because of its flavor and price point. That being said it doesn’t compare when it comes to a true craft beer. However this is the untapped market. Sometimes though people don’t want a heavy flavor. I can’t hold that against them. This is also %30 and declining fast!
Besides people went to the Yuengling launch for the party and not for the beer:
And how much fun was @BostonTweet having at the #YuenglingLaunch:
That’s right, he was enjoying a Guinness at Solas in Boston!
It’s going to be OK Boston Craft Beer. In the long run you are about to get busier!