Yuengling beer bottle in the snow (Photo: Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash)
08 October 2020

Yuengling expands distribution with Molson Coors joint venture

USA | Looks like brewer Molson Coors has lots of spare capacity. In September 2020 Molson Coors Beverage and D.G. Yuengling & Son formed a joint venture that will expand the reach of America’s oldest brewery to millions more drinkers outside its mostly East Coast distribution territory.

The Brewers Association has counted Yuengling as its biggest member since 2014, ahead of Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada. It sold 3 million hl beer in 2019. Its biggest seller is a brand called Traditional Lager, which is exactly what it says.  

Under the terms of the deal, the Pottsville/Pennsylvania-based Yuengling will have its beers brewed and packaged in select Molson Coors’ breweries under Yuengling’s supervision. The announcement did not specify which Molson Coors plants will be included. Yuengling will retain the rights to its brands and trademarks and remain a family-owned business. The companies did not disclose financial details.

Is Yuengling still independently-owned?

The joint venture is more than the contract brewing agreements that Molson Coors previously had with brewers Boston Beer and Pabst.  

The Wall Street Journal reported Yuengling’s US sales were about USD 1.6 billion in 2019, or 1.5 percent of the US beer market. Its market share has remained fairly flat for several years.

Molson Coors is hoping to benefit from consumers looking for a new beer that, despite its age, has a craft-like appeal. This is a far cry from the recent shift at Molson Coors, where the maker of Miller Lite and Blue Moon beer has promoted itself as a beverage maker rather than simply a brewer of beer. In September, Molson Coors rolled out several non-alcoholic products, including a full-flavoured seltzer with added probiotics and a plant-based diet soda.

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