Yuengling Ice Cream Makes a Return

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On my brewery tours of Asheville, I tell participants the history of beer in the US, and one of the major events in US brewing history was Prohibition.  The outlaw of the manufacture of alcohol in the US changed the trajectory for beer for the next 80 years.  Before Prohibition, many brewers were extremely successful and had built large business enterprises.  One of those breweries was the one owned by the Yuengling family in Pennsylvania. 

Before the devastation of the Volstead Act, the Yuengling family had earned a lot of money brewing beer.  In the boom times, the patriarch of the family smartly invested in gold, railroads, and a dairy farm.  This dairy farm would become a major enterprise for the family when they were forced to stop making beer for thirteen years.

Most large breweries had mechanical refrigeration by 1920, so the Yuengling family smartly combined this asset with their dairy farm and started an ice cream company.  Even after Prohibition was repealed the ice cream business was popular enough to keep it alive until the early 1980s.  The brand was shut down at that point, but the Yuenglings announced recently that their once famous ice cream will be back on shelves throughout the mid-Atlantic soon.

Best known for beer, the family-owned Yuengling brewery launched its ice cream subsidiary in 1920 to help the business survive Prohibition.

The dairy branch was spun off from the flagship in 1935, two years after Prohibition ended, but it stopped production in 1985.

At that time, David Yuengling wasn’t ready to take over the family business from his father. But after spending 30 years in the computer industry, David was ready to revive the ice cream business.

Production was expected to start in March, but advance interest from grocery stores like Acme and Weis encouraged him to speed up the process. Quarts of the 10 new flavors hit shelves on Monday.

”I think one of the biggest problems people have with new products is name-brand recognition, and we already have that,” Yuengling said.

Yuengling’s Ice Cream remains separate from the Yuengling brewery, which David’s second-cousin now owns. The Pennsylvania-based brewery has been family owned since it opened in 1829 and distributes mainly to the East Coast.

The ice cream company is also based in Pennsylvania and plans to distribute to stores in the Mid-Atlantic region.

And no, beer isn’t one of the flavors. But a chocolate and caramel combo is called Black and Tan, sharing its name with one of the six Yuengling beers
— Katie Labosco for CNN