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January 16, 2015

Yuengling omitted from Wolf inauguration party?

Governor-elect's camp reportedly gives brewery cold shoulder

Count this among the odder controversies in recent weeks: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Yuengling has been omitted from the Tom Wolf inauguration drink list -- if it was ever there at all, that is. 

According to the report, State Rep. Mike Vereb is claiming constituents in Montgomery County and inauguration planners informed him that requests were put in to make sure Yuengling, the popular Pottsville, Pennsylvania-made lager, stays off the menu. A Yuengling press kit claims that the brewery produces nearly 2 million barrels of beer per year, making it a bit of a standout omission from an incoming governor's inaugural drink list.

The Inquirer attempted to answer the "Why?" part of the controversy by pointing to politics; namely, to D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. President Richard Yuengling Jr., who is a Republican.

From the Inquirer:

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.

But maybe Wolf's just more of a modern craft beer kind of guy? According to Wolf's inauguration website, regional product sponsors for the event do include Yards Brewing Company and Fegley's Brew Works in Bethlehem. (Plus: Philadelphia Distilling and Boyd's Cardinal Hollow Winery in Lansdale, Montgomery County.)

Wolf's inaugural soiree will be held next Tuesday, Jan. 20, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, from 8-11 p.m. has reached out to inaugural planners for a full drink menu but has yet to receive word.

Read the full report from the Inquirer here.