My wife, Inez’s family and its extension by marriage has an enduring Thanksgiving custom. Each year, every able-bodied, adult male and, verily, a few intrepid females participate in a traditional touch football game that has long been known as the “Turkey Bowl.” Nez is the oldest child of a large Irish family; one of nine. So, with my seven brothers-in-law, an assortment of their grown offspring, my fellow “outlaw brother” who married into the menagerie by way of a sister, a gang of included friends, and myself, we have an epic encounter the size of which rivals the Battle of Waterloo. Now, perhaps as important as the game itself is the Miller Time which immediately follows. I say Miller Time, but in the past it could more accurately be referenced as Yuengling Time as that company’s lager was the one and only beer of choice for our annual post-game toast. This year however there were a variety of beers and nary a Yuengling among them.
It’s not my job to bring the beer. Four of my brothers-in-law are union carpenters and it has always been their generosity that provided the essential elixir of our yearly communion. When I questioned the obvious break from tradition, they informed me that although Yuengling is now the largest, domestic, privately owned brewery in the U.S. (Sam Adams is bigger, but is publicly owned and all of the familiar big boys have been sold to foreign corporations), a boycott movement is beginning to ripple through the ranks of American unionized workers. My brothers told me that on May 29th, 2007 Yuengling Brewery tossed the Teamsters Union out of their operations. It took more than a year for the news to spread throughout the concerned population, but it is now becoming widely known, and at least some beer-drinking folks who build and maintain our country’s infrastructure, businesses, and domiciles are reacting – at least those who are members, or are in support of unions.
Personally, I really enjoy Yuengling’s products and am proud to have our nation’s oldest brewery in my neck of the woods. Whether or not the company’s fall from the graces of certain, previously loyal aficionados represents a significant threat to their market position remains to be seen.
Ed Petersen, Creative Director of American Public House Review