(Boston, MA) – Yuengling COO, Dave Casinelli, tells BeerPulse that Yuengling is exploring a return to the New England market and has narrowed its focus on Massachusetts to start. The company consolidated its markets and left New England back in the mid-1990s.
Yuengling has representatives on the ground in the Commonwealth this month doing due diligence and, if all goes according to plan, product will roll out there by the end of the first quarter next year.
While the ultimate goal is to be back in all of New England, there is no timetable for other states. Due to challenges, Yuengling is skipping over Connecticut for now.
Says Casinelli, “New England is an attractive market because it has a great consumer base and is a good, high-profile beer market. For the last twenty years, even though we have been out of the market, we have continually heard from consumers and retailers looking forward to our return. There has always been a good relationship.”
Over 16,000 fans have liked a Facebook page called Bring Yuengling to New England. The page administrator was the first to report the news on Tuesday that Yuengling distributors were in the state this week.
Casinelli jokes that there may be a similar page in every state at this point.
“It is something we have wanted to do for a long time. We never wanted to exit the market but we are a much better company now, we are much better prepared and we look forward to coming back.”
Yuengling will be looking at markets down south as well, the previously rumored Louisiana being among them.
Hinting at an East/South focus, “We make beer in Tampa, Florida, and two locations here in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and there is only so far we can logistically ship beer before it becomes cost-prohibitive.”
Yuengling has focused on organic growth and capital expenditures in 2013. The company upgraded its Tampa facility earlier this year with a new brewhouse, new kegging line and an improved packaging line. A sewage treatment facility is in the works.
When all is said and done, the company should have 4-4.5 million barrels of capacity company-wide with which to operate, giving it ample runway as it looks to add new markets.
Yuengling produced around 2.7 million barrels of beer last year and is projecting 2.8-2.85 million this year. Having not entered any new markets or launched any new products this year, that growth figure is softer than 2012. The brewery added Ohio distribution toward the end of 2011, boosting those 2012 numbers.
The company is also working on a third seasonal for the summer season to go along with its spring Bock and fall Oktoberfest. When pressed whether Yuengling is going the shandy route on the heels of Leinenkugel’s success, Casinelli says the new seasonal isn’t 100% finalized but to look for something along the lines of a summer wheat beer.
As for the government shutdown leaving the TTB without funding, Casinelli says that has left relatively little impact on the brewery when compared to craft brewers who are constantly adding new products.