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Yuengling is now Craft Beer?


WTF is this BS?

'In February, the [Brewers Association] eliminated a long-standing requirement that a craft brewery must make at least half of its product, as well as its "flagship" beer, from only barley malt — not sugar from rice or corn, which large breweries commonly rely on to make thinly flavored lagers.

The amendment means Yuengling & Sons, Inc., the largest American-owned brewery, will soon join the Brewers Association's voting membership as a "craft" brewery, according to Julia Herz, a spokeswoman with the association. She says the change also brought August Schell and Narragansett, and their respective flagship lagers, into the craft category.'

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  1. It all started with this: http://beerpulse.com/2012/12/august-s...

    People will always take issue with someone being or not being inside the craft-beer tent because the definition lies at a strange juncture of politics, commerce and esthetics.

    I think Jace Marti was justified in feeling the way he did about "craft vs crafty".

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jim Dorsch

      Because when you are drinking Grain Belt Premium, the first thing that comes to mind is "mmmmmmm...CRAFT!!!"

      I'm not sure this entire "craft" designation is really of much use, is it?

    2. Yuengling Lager is MY beer but it is NO craft beer! LOL!

      1. I live in Yuengling lager central. Used to positively loathe it, but ..... gotten used to it over time (I s'pose that's the least you can say about a beer).

        What's in it that it now qualifies as craft beer and formerly didn't?

        5 Replies
        1. re: linguafood

          Read my link above. It relates to traditional use of an ingredient, in this case an adjunct. Brewers in the US long ago started using corn and rice for technical reasons having to do with nitrogen levels in malt. After the flap with Schell, the BA took another look at adjunct use.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            The link didn't answer my question: what is the non-craft ingredient in Yuengling?


            1. re: linguafood

              Sorry, misread your question.

              I assume corn was the grain of contention in the past. But now it seems to be OK

            2. re: Jim Dorsch

              Adjunct brewing is a mixture of necessity back then and cost effectiveness later. When necessity wasn't an issue, using less flavorful corn and rice could stretch the fermentable content of a mash and produce more beer/alcohol for less cost. The choice for 6 row + adjuncts has mostly been attributed to cost savings later in history (such as the government capping the price of beer during the Depression). That and the general public's desire for less flavorful beer.


            3. re: linguafood

              Not too far from Yuengling central either. I remember when they couldn't give it away. They rolled the dice with a massive advertising campaign and the next thing you know its everywhere.

            4. How many Belgian beers are brewed w/ only barley tho'? Don't many use adjuncts like candied sugar?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chinon00

                The Brewer's Association definition is for American craft beer and I haven't heard the term used much in traditional beer countries like Germany and Belgium (I have heard it used in non-traditionally-beer countries like Italy). However, they seem to allow exceptions where candied sugar could play a role: "Craft beer is generally made with traditional ingredients like malted barley; interesting and sometimes non-traditional ingredients are often added for distinctiveness."


              2. When drinking a beer, what matters the taste. Whether a beer is a "Craft" or "Mass Market"' it can be good, mediocre or poor. IMHO opinion Yuengling is mediocre. What the brewers association calls a "craft" beer is irrelevant to me and I expect to most beer drinkers

                1. We've officially reached the gerrymandering stage of determining craft beer it looks like...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Insidious Rex

                    The old regionals seem to have been left out in the cold as regards representation. The bigs have the Beer Institute, the smalls have the Brewers Association, and breweries like Yuengling and Schell had no one to speak for them. This is ironic, since the BA was formed by merging the Association of Brewers (basically the same people who now run the BA) and the Brewers Association of America, which had represented those older breweries.

                  2. This reminds me... Years ago I was visiting my sister in Chapel Hill, NC and saw them selling Yuengling at a store for $9.99 a six-pack in the micro-brew area of the beer cooler. Living in MD at the time I was used to seeing this swill sell at a price reflecting the fact it was swill, albeit our very own regional swill. As I looked at that expensive sixer of Yuengling I noticed that a small cardboard notice in front of the beer proudly proclaimed it to be, "America's oldest craft beer", and all I could was to softly utter, "Well played Yuengling...well played indeed."

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: The Big Crunch

                      I don't think Yuengling is swill. It's a beer that many people like, at a fair price (except at that store you visited in NC).

                      That sign you saw in all likelihood wasn't provided by the brewery. It was probably created by the wholesaler, or possibly the retailer.

                      How you define swill, by the way? I've never tasted swill, so I wouldn't know.

                      1. re: Jim Dorsch

                        Here in Japan, the people importing Blue Moon are calling it America's No.1 Craft Beer. Go figure...
                        (By the way, these are the same importers who, years ago, called Negra Modelo "Corona Dark")

                        1. re: Tripeler

                          Tripeler, you will occasionally see a delivery truck in San Diego proclaiming Blue Moon to be "San Diego's #1 craft beer". I'd tip my hat to them if I thought they were doing it tongue in cheek, but I think they were being serious.

                          1. re: RB Hound

                            I think it would be easy for practically anyone in SD to proclaim one product as San Diego's #1 craft beer.

                            1. re: RB Hound

                              The craft term is so fluid (as we've been discussing). If you look at industry data, such as scan data from grocery stores, etc., analysts typically include Blue Moon in the craft category. Of course, consumers seeing a Blue Moon ad on the side of a beer truck aren't thinking of it in those terms.

                          2. re: Jim Dorsch

                            Sorry, Jim, but Yuengling for a while has been marketing themselves as the "oldest craft brewer". This change in Brewer's Association categorization is all about giving their marketing some validity.

                            I really don't care. I certainly don't buy beer on the basis of Brewer's Associating categorization, and I doubt Josh does either (which is why I'm not sure why he got his underwear in a wad over this).

                            1. re: RB Hound

                              Not to be contentious, but could you point me toward such a statement by the brewery? I did run a search of the Yuengling website for 'craft', and saw several mentions of the word in relation to their porter, but nothing about the brewery in general.

                              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                I may have mistaken them with Anchor. Yuengling is "America's oldest brewery". Ooops!

                                1. re: RB Hound


                                  Anchor is sometimes forgotten in that regard.

                              2. re: RB Hound

                                I despise the bogus veneer applied to reality by the PR industry.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  Problem here is that the BA is defining "craft" for political reasons, and their definition lacks something as it relates to consumers.

                                  I'm OK with the industry's data suppliers putting Blue Moon and such into craft figures, because they have their own purposes, and the only people reading it are others in the industry. I suppose, though, that this could cause those beers to be included in craft sets in retail stores, reinforcing the notions set forth by the PR folks.

                                2. re: RB Hound

                                  I don't think it is fair to say that Josh had his underwear in a wad over this. I do understand that Josh is concerned, but not unreasonably. I guess we just have to accept that Yuengling is considered a "craft brewer" by the industry and leave it at that. With their name, I would think they would do well supplying beer to the nation's Dim Sum establishments.

                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                    And the Japanese restaurants have Sapporo from Canada and Kirin from Los Angeles.

                                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                      Which, by the way, are rather different in flavor and texture from the Japan-brewed Sapporo and Kirin.

                                3. re: Jim Dorsch

                                  Jim, I agree it is a beer that many people like, and many people also like Blue Moon, Natural Light, and Fireball Whiskey. For me it lacks decent carbonation, has poor balance, and features a very unique and heavy malty character that I really don't enjoy in a lager, or any beer for that matter.

                                  Swill can be generally defined as a noun often used in a colloquial manner to characterize an unpleasant tasting liquid and is frequently used as a derisive term when describing alcoholic beverages; i.e., this wine is swill, or, Yuengling is swill.

                                  Have you ever had an alcoholic beverage that you did not like? If the answer is yes then you have actually drank swill, as far as the common colloquial meaning goes. If you have never drank anything you did not like, well, more power to you.

                                  As I recall, the sign did look like it was done professionally (thick paper, professional art, full color print) but it could have been done by the wholesaler. This was about ten years ago, so my memory of it is less than perfect, and more than likely it is now being sold in NC in the price range for which it is known in the MD/PA region.

                                  1. re: The Big Crunch

                                    You and I disagree on one point. I don't think the term "swill" is subjective. If I understand you correctly, you do.

                                    I agree with your first sentence above. Popularity does not equal quality.

                                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                      Words have multiple definitions and one of the ways that swill is used is as a colloquial term for "food or drink that is very bad or unappealing" (taken from Merriam-Webster dictionary). In the end, taste is pretty subjective, though it can be great fun arguing otherwise. To my taste, Yuengling is very bad and unappealing beer, hence, swill, but a lot of people obviously enjoy it.

                                      1. re: The Big Crunch

                                        not to get pedantic but I think the term swill has a more specific meaning than "whatever you dont like". To me it means the worst kind of beer you could drink not any beer you dont like. I dont like scotch ales really but I would never call them swill. Just not a big fan of their standard malt signature (like you say you arent about Yuengling ) Its just not to my taste. I agree Yuengling is of limited appeal but I still find it better then anything I would call swill (Old English, Natural Light, Milwaukees Best, Keystone, stuff like that) and I have been known to drink it when its hot out and I want something refreshing. I know people who call Sam Adams swill. Heck, I know people who call Sierra Nevada swill because its common. I think thats ridiculous. So maybe my swill bar is just lower than yours.

                                  2. re: Jim Dorsch

                                    Swill: kitchen refuse and scraps of waste food mixed with water for feeding to pigs.

                                    You might find my personal alcoholic swill measuring stick useful. It starts with anything found in a king's cup and ends with the smell/taste of the bottom of a corn silo. Both of these are things with which I've had personal experiences.

                                    For me, Peruvian chicha is on the swill list. Steel Reserve is descending it's way onto the list as I age and my physical tolerance for this type of thing literally decreases. Judgmental? Maybe. But I still wouldn't put Yuengling on the swill list.

                                4. I grew up in Yeungling country and I'm not sure I'd consider the corn in Yeungling Lager and adjunct as opposed to a flavoring ingredient. No, it's not all barley, but the corn has its own aroma and flavor that makes Yeungling taste and smell different than other beers.

                                  (I personally don't consider it craft, but not mass-market either.)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: carnicero

                                    I think your last statement pretty much sums it up. I think of Yuengling Lager as a beer that delivers some character, for a price that's not much different than that of Budweiser, which makes it a good deal.

                                  2. Gambrinus-owned Spoetzl Brewing Co., who's flagship beer is the adjunct-brewed Shiner Bock, has been considered "craft" since the Brewers Association created their 3 Part - Small/Independent/Traditional - definition in 2007 and few ever objected to that. (Previous to that, Spoetzl was listed as "Not considered a craft brewer" in AoB/BA lists).

                                    Besides somehow considering Shiner Bock's corn adjunct as being for "flavor" rather than "lighten-ing" the beer, the Brewers Association also overlooked the fact that parent company Gambrinus was originally one of the two US importers of the #1 import, Corona - thus, somehow ignoring the "Independent" clause that::

                                    "Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer."

                                    With Anchor Brewing Co. now owned by The Griffin Group (primarily a spirits importer) the B.A. also overlooks that fact in order, one supposes, not to deny what most would consider the original "US craft brewer" the B.A.'s "craft brewer" designation.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: JessKidden

                                      I think Gambrinus might have been through with Corona before 2007. Today, if I recall, their holdings are Trumer, BridgePort and Shiner.

                                      Jaime Jurado, who used to direct brewing operations for Gambrinus and is now at Abita, made the case to the BA that corn was used in Shiner Bock for flavor, so they didn't just wave them on in; they had to make their case.

                                      1. re: JessKidden

                                        While I am certainly not an expert on American breweries, I have always felt that the growth rate for 'craft breweries' somehow seemed odd. A large number of breweries producing small amounts of beer cannot change the total output of millions of barrels very much.

                                        Perhaps the BA makes these 'exceptions' in order to justify the growth rates it claims?

                                        1. re: ThomasvanDale

                                          I'm pretty certain the BA would base growth percentages on a common base. They go for long periods of time in any case when no really large brewery are added to the base, so figures would be comparable in those cases.

                                          I am sure the membership base has changed recently due to fallout from the craft-vs-crafty controversy.

                                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                            From everything I have seen from the BA, they are nothing more than a marketing agency for their members. Their subtitle is 'A Passionate Voice for Craft Brewers'. I think that says it rather clearly. Statistically, 2000 small breweries increasing output by, for example, 20 percent, would not give the percentage growth the BA claims without input from larger breweries.

                                      2. Funny story here -
                                        we have a place near Fleetville/North of Scranton and some years ago Yuengling Beer was unknown to most in NJ here. One day we used the drive-through on our way to our place to pick up a case of beer. Husband stayed in the car and told me to ask for "JingLing" lager. Heh, I thought he took a fancy to some Chinese beer. Reading the label it became clear as the name almost suggests a young man in German, a Jüngling.
                                        Now sitting next to the pond at our place and have a Yuengling with Dinner or on a warm Summer night just fits perfectly.
                                        Which reminds me - the local brew is always the best fit, and this beer is no exception. We certainly like it and have some always around. Btw it is also great for adding to certain meat braises, add it to Chili, Goulash whatever. I like that it is not imparting any bitter taste.

                                        1. had a Yuengling last evening, as I listened to a recording of Throbbing Gristle's Hamburger Lady.

                                          I love Yuengling whether it is craft or not, as an option, sometimes. Partaking of one is always good.

                                          Of course we all want to eat and drink like the Feudal lords did back in the day, but our hearts and taste buds have history with the commoners. I say that because of haughty glares I get from time to time, from people who look down on the beer, as being just run of mill.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: jonkyo

                                            Are you sure the glares you got were because of the beer you were drinking?

                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                              yes, they were.

                                              I don't wear dresses, or political or social extremist insignias.

                                              It was the beer. Some people think that with such an inventory of so called Craft Beers, if one has not moved on from items such as Yuengling, that places one outside of the progressive minds and tongues of advancements from mainstream.

                                              I for one had a Back in Black, Craft Domestic, and was uninspiring.

                                              I would just as much enjoyed, if not more, porter. Problem was they buy from a sales rep who has a distributor that is making revenue off the explosion of so call craft beer, limiting the list more than 15 beers, at the venue, to all craft basically.

                                              Yuengling does not have a chance at places like this due to the draconian and fascist practices of the distribution and sales network.