Jason Laughlin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last updated: Friday, January 16, 2015, 1:08 AM
Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015, 8:18 PM
Yuengling, from the Pottsville-based brewery, appears to have been left off the list of beverages to be served at next week’s inauguration for Gov.-elect Tom Wolf.
State Rep. Mike Vereb (R., Montgomery) said he learned from constituents and others that inauguration planners had specifically declared Yuengling not to be served. Vereb said Thursday he was not sure why, or if Wolf knew, but added that he didn’t think it was accidental.
Asked if Yuengling’s draft was getting the shaft, Wolf representative Beth Melena said: “We met our beverage needs, and we have a variety of choices for attendees from a number of breweries, including Pennsylvania-based breweries.” She would not elaborate.
One clue may be the company’s president, Richard Yuengling Jr.
As popular as his family’s beer may be – President Obama sent a case to his counterpart in Ottawa after Canada topped the United States in men’s hockey in the 2010 Olympics – Yuengling, a Republican, doesn’t have many fans among organized labor, one of the Democratic Party’s – and by extension Wolf’s – most reliable bases.
Two years ago, the now-74-year-old Yuengling became a target of union rallies after becoming a vocal proponent of “right-to-work” laws. At the time, he said the state would attract more business if it endorsed policies that ban mandatory dues and membership at unionized businesses.
Such laws are seen as union-busting by labor advocates. A year ago, the Teamsters voted to boycott Yuengling products.
Brewery officials did not return phone calls and e-mails seeking comment on Thursday.
Founded in 1829, D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. competes with the company that makes Sam Adams for the title of America’s largest domestically owned brewery. It produces more than 2.5 million barrels a year, according to its website. It has been owned by the Yuengling family for five generations. Business Insider calls it Pennsylvania’s favorite beer.
And, like others, the brewery planned to offer the beer free at the inauguration, according to Vereb, who is also the Montgomery County GOP chairman.
“Turning down beer from America’s oldest brewery here in Pennsylvania is unheard of,” he said.
Wolf’s inauguration party Tuesday night is being billed as a celebration of Pennsylvania’s people, products, and culture – and Pennsylvania’s brewers will be well represented, according to a list of publicly announced product sponsors.
Philadelphia-based Yards contributed $2,000 in beer. Troegs, out of Hershey, offered $1,064 of its brew. Roy-Pitz Brewing Co. of Chambersburg, which describes itself as a creator of “liquid art,” is kicking in $114 in beer.
On Thursday, Wolf released the list of donors – from lobbyists to law firms to unions – who contributed $1.5 million to pay for his inaugural festivities Tuesday. Among the top givers were some of the state’s largest state employee unions, Comcast Corp., and Wolf’s family-owned business. All gave the $50,000 maximum.
When Gov. Corbett celebrated his swearing-in four years ago, his inaugural team offered a wide variety of suds, said his spokesman, Jay Pagni.
“All Pennsylvania brewers were proudly represented at Gov. Corbett’s inauguration,” he said.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20150116_Yuengling_canned_from_menu_at_Wolf_s_swearing-in.html#PA8xZqpMt14wpGmM.99