It would mark just the 16th state for Yuengling, which is nevertheless the country’s oldest brewery and one that sells nearly 3 million barrels annually.
Although Yuengling executives did not provide a specific timetable for the brands potential return to the Bay State, multiple wholesaler sources believe it could come as early as the first quarter of 2014.
Yuengling beer had previously been distributed in Massachusetts until about 1992 or 1993 when the company decided to exit the state, said Yuengling chief operating officer Dave Casinelli.
Lou Romano, director of marketing and wholesaler development for Pennsylvania-based Yuengling, told Brewbound that the company had begun initial market research in Massachusetts.
“At this time, we are in the very preliminary stages of getting to understand the state of Massachusetts,” he said. “Our due diligence needs to be completed before we make any decisions on entering the state and developing a timeline for potential expansion.”
Romano confirmed rumors that company representatives had recently met with several potential distributor partners, including Atlas Distributing, which is based in Auburn, Mass. and had flown a “Welcome Yuengling” sign for the visit.
“All conversations have been informal,” he said. “We need to understand the state to develop an approach, so we have spoken to several wholesalers about their perspective. Everyone who is interested in our brands will be given the same courtesy in due time.”
Romano also confirmed that Massachusetts is, for the immediate future, the only New England state that Yuengling is prospecting at this time.
Since taking the helm of the company in 1985, Dick Yuengling, the fifth-generation owner of the brewery, has grown production from approximately 130,000 barrels to nearly 3 million. Its products are currently distributed in just 14 states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama as well as Washington DC.
Massachusetts would be the first new market the company has entered since it launched in Ohio in 2011. Yuengling, which produces its beer in two cities, recently made improvements to its Tampa, Fla. brewing facility, installing a larger brewhouse and more efficient packaging lines.