Dick Yuengling thought long and hard before investing millions of dollars in his Florida facility. Foremost in his mind was one very important consideration. Will there be a sixth generation at the helm of America’s oldest family-owned brewery? His four daughters – Jennifer, Wendy, Sheryl and Debbie, assured him that they were all in.
There aren’t many places in center city where you won’t come across Yuengling’s newest and very successful marketing platform #spreadyourwings. This ad campaign reminds consumers that Yuengling is Philadelphia’s local brewery with the German-brewing heritage, authenticity and easy-drinking beers this discerning population demands.
Jennifer, Wendy, Sheryl and Debbie Yuengling – the daughters with “four-titude”, (yes, we know it’s corny) find it a quirky coincidence that #spreadyourwings resonates with the public. “It’s what our dad urged each one of us to do,” began Jennifer. “But he said something more like ‘figure it out and find something you want to work hard at every day’”. “There was no pressure to work here,” said Wendy. “Yet we all found our own path back to the brewery.”
When their dad took over the brewery from his father in 1985, the company was on shaky ground. Things began to change two years later when he reintroduced an amber lager brewed from an old family recipe, Yuengling Lager. Philadelphians embraced the beer and the family credits the brewery’s survival to Lager’s success in the city. But success comes from hard work and Dick Yuengling realized that he needed and wanted his daughters to work in the family business. So in 1995, he asked them if they would eventually shoulder the responsibilities of running the brewery, which they did. Since coming onboard, the four sisters have helped Yuengling expand to new markets, refresh the company’s image and connect with a new generation of customers. But along the way, they have faced their own challenges.
“People look at us and think we need to prove ourselves because we are women working in what has been thought of as a man’s business,” said Debbie. “But that’s not how we see it at all. We try to work harder than our co-workers to show our commitment to the success of the brewery because it puts food on their tables. Five generations of our family worked very hard to put us into this position. That’s something we don’t take for granted.”
“Yuengling is a family business,” explained Sheryl. “Family includes our employees and our community. It’s not just about how successful the four of us are. Come to think of it,” she added, “there’s already a seventh generation of Yuenglings waiting in the wings, so we all better get back to work.”
And that’s what they did.
Dick Yuengling encouraged his daughters to spread their wings and chart their own course. Each found their own path back to the brewery.
- Jennifer handles operations, logistics and sustainability. She has a Masters in Counseling Psychology.
- Sheryl is a culinary school graduate. She heads order services and has cross-trained in many positions for which she often pinch-hits.
- Debbie, who has an accounting background, plies her skills on pricing, distributor budgets and sales administration.
- Wendy oversees HR, IT, finance and stays close to sales and marketing. She studied marketing and worked for an advertising company in Maryland.
“Sure, the four of us have our little disagreements. That’s a good thing. It’s not a good thing when dad doesn’t agree with us!” – Wendy
From left to right: Jennifer, Sheryl, Debbie and Wendy