The Stamp Act, passed in March 1765, was met by the…resolve to eat no English food, to wear no English clothes, to drink no English beer.
—Pennsylvania, A Guide To the Keystone State (WPA, 1940)
It is a bit ironic that America’s oldest brewery, D.G. Yuengling & Son, founded in 1829, will soon be owned by the sixth generation—all daughters. Heightening the incongruity is the fact that Yuengling is an Anglicized version of the German name Jüngling, meaning “young man.” It has been a company and family tradition that each succeeding owner has purchased the business from his father at full market value. Considering that Yuengling is now also America’s largest brewer it’s probably helpful that there are four daughters who could possibly team up for that purchase.
If you were to read the Wikipedia article on Yuengling you would be painted a general story of American success, which it certainly is, but it has not been the constant onward and upward road that the article depicts. The brewery’s own version is a far better one, checkered with ups and downs, and struggles to stay relevant in a competitive and ever-changing American landscape.
I met the current owner, Dick Yuengling, over 20 years ago when I was going to college about an hour away from Pottsville. I was majoring in business and one semester we had to pick a local business to analyze for our marketing class. My team chose Yuengling (probably we were hoping for some free beer), and not long after we made the drive to Pottsville. Back then regular civilians didn’t visit the brewery so there really wasn’t a proper reception area to the place. We sat with Mr. Yuengling on the wooden floor outside his office area and leaned up against the wall while he told us his story.
He was wearing something like overalls and looked like he’d just come off the plant floor, having worked a long shift himself. As big and hulking a facility as the Pottsville brewery is, what I’ve always remembered from that meeting, along with his story of fighting to stay in business, is how relatively small his brewery was at the time in comparison to the other “big” brewers. For perspective he told us that Budweiser throws out more beer in a year than his Yuengling brewery could produce.
After offering up our own college-brained ideas on how to help his business grow, he kindly didn’t roll his eyes and proceeded to lead us on a personal tour through his brewery, eventually leaving us with a bar maid at the company pub, the Rathskeller, for some tastes of his various beers. Our hopes for free beer had come true.
Today things are a little different: the brewery is now open daily to the public for tours, only Dick Yuengling is too busy to be your guide. And while we had the run of the place back then, you will now be advised to stay inside the lines and avoid the roped-off areas of the plant. There is a bit of a Willy Wonka aspect to the factory considering how old it is, and its location on the side of a fairly steep hill in town. It is a massive structure full of quirks and oddities that likely exist in any building still standing from the early 1800s.
Today, shortly before you are offered up some free beer, the tour will take you through a part of the facility only recently made available to visitors: the basement. When you see how the foundation of this landmark was hand-carved out of bedrock it makes an impact and forces the realization of how primitive the process must have been to sustain this business. How it has survived despite Prohibition and everything that came before and after is a testament to D.H. Yuengling & Son. And daughters.
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Guide to the Northeast Brett Klein lives in Connecticut and works in New York, but prefers small town life and his home state of Maine. Any chance to get rural is a mental vacation. He curated The American Guide’s first zine, Rural Life. Follow Klein on Tumblr at The Coast is Clear. His curatorial collection of Americana, rural life, other artists and ephemera can be seen on Tumblr at Tons of Land.
both chinstrap and adele penguins rely on krill for food, but the krill population, which itself relies on phytoplankton found beneath icebergs, has decreased by 80 percent. as the antarctic ice continues to melt, the phytoplankton are prevented from accessing cold water nutrients found beneath the icebergs, which ends up putting populations of the penguins at risk.
there’s now strong evidence to suggest a more than 50 percent drop in the abundance of chinstraps breeding since 1986, while the adelie population northeast of the ross sea has declined by 90 percent.
(side note: the bluer ice seen here is created as air bubbles trapped in the ice are sufficiently compressed over time from accumulated snow so that they no longer interfere with the passage of light. the structure of glacial ice, different from the ice you would normally see, strongly scatters light, which, as with all ice, is blue because water absorbs photons from the red end of the visible spectrum much better than the blue end.)
Peter Wainwright is a fish biologist at UC Davis and studies the many ways fish eat their food. His lab has a YouTube page that shows an array of fish eating their prey. In the animation above the slingjaw wrasseessentially creates a suction tube to eat small fish by unhinging its jaw.
If you’ve ever dreamed of having a seafront home shaped like a sea urchin — who hasn’t? — then hold onto your swim fins.
The Hydroelectric Tidal House, envisioned by architectural designer Margot Krasojević, draws inspiration from some of nature’s weirdest sea creatures — echinoderms like starfish and sea urchins whose symmetrical shapes have long fascinated biologists. Learn more