Molson Coors to Bring Yuengling to the West

Brewers form joint venture, plan expansion to 25 more states
Photograph: Shutterstock

CHICAGO — Molson Coors Beverage Co. has formed a joint venture with D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. to oversee and execute the westward expansion of Yuengling beer into states beyond its existing 22-state footprint and New England, according to a post on the Molson Coors Blog.

The partnership will bring beers from “America’s oldest brewery”—Yuengling—to drinkers in the 25 states outside its mostly East Coast distribution territory. Yuengling’s beers, including Traditional Lager, Black & Tan and Flight, are expected to reach into new markets in the second half of 2021.

“Yuengling’s iconic beers are beloved by those who live in a state fortunate enough to have their brands and desired by those who are visiting. And just as was the case with a certain brand out of Golden, Colo., more than a few people have smuggled Yuengling across state lines in the trunk of their car. But soon, millions of fans won’t have to resort to such tactics,” said Gavin Hattersley, president and CEO of Chicago-based Molson Coors.

The new entity will be governed by a six-member board of directors split evenly between Yuengling and Molson Coors family members and executives, with Yuengling holding the chairmanship. A leader for the new enterprise has not yet been named.

Yuengling will retain the rights to its brands and trademarks and remain a family-owned business. Its existing 191-year-old company will operate separately from its joint venture with Molson Coors.

Under terms of the deal, Yuengling beers will be brewed and packaged in select Molson Coors’ breweries under Yuengling brewers’ supervision, and distributed into new markets largely in the western half of the United States.

The pace of expansion is expected to be measured and methodical, said Wendy Yuengling, a sixth-generation family member and chief administrative officer of Pottsville, Pa.-based D.G. Yuengling & Son.

“This partnership is a great opportunity for us to grow our distribution footprint for the long-term, while continuing to support our existing markets and the communities in which we operate,” Yuengling said.

The additional capacity offered by Molson Coors breweries will allow for Yuengling to expand into additional states while continuing to operate its breweries in Pottsville, Pa., Mill Creek, Pa., and Tampa, Fla. The joint venture does not change Yuengling’s existing operations, breweries, family of employees or distributor partnerships within its 22-state footprint, the companies said.

For Molson Coors, the deal is the latest in a string of moves aimed to solidify and fortify its core of American lagers. Since embarking on a sweeping restructuring and revitalization plan late last year, the company has made several noteworthy moves, including taking a significant minority stake in nonalcohol beverage incubator and developer L.A. Libations, and launching a slate of new products, including Coors Hard Seltzer, and a line of cannabis beverages in Canada via a joint venture called Truss.

Yuengling is the oldest operating brewing company in the United States. Established in rural Pennsylvania in 1829 by German immigrant David Yuengling, the company has grown to become America’s largest craft brewer, according to the Brewers Association definition.

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