D.G. Yuengling & Son's Eagle Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, n.d.

D.G. Yuengling & Son's Eagle Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, n.d.

David Gottlieb Yuengling


David Gottlieb Yuengling founded the eponymous brewery in 1829 that eventually became both the largest domestically-owned brewery in America and also the oldest. From its location in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, roughly 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia, D.G. Yuengling was able to serve the thousands of miners working in the relatively remote coal and slate belt regions of Eastern Pennsylvania, along with the booming towns that sprung up around them.


Like so many breweries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the largest American-owned brewery in the United States in 2012 carries the name of a German immigrant. David Gottlieb Yuengling (born David Gottlob Jüngling on March 2, 1808, Aldingen, Kingdom of Württemberg; died September 27, 1877, Pottsville, PA) founded the firm that eventually became both the largest domestically-owned brewery in America and also the oldest in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in 1829.[1] From its location roughly 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia, D.G. Yuengling was able to serve the thousands of miners working in the relatively remote coal and slate belt regions of Eastern Pennsylvania, along with the booming towns that sprung up around them. During his lifetime, D.G. Yuengling set his business on a solid footing, and the brewery changed ownership only among family members and at full purchase price. His brewery also bears the distinction of having survived Prohibition, by producing alcohol free “near beer” and ice cream, and thriving as a regional brewer through the tough, mass-market “Miller-Budweiser-Coors” decades during the Cold War era to cater to the recent boom in micro- and craft-brew consumers. D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. still brews beer in Pottsville, as well as at additional facilities in Port Carbon, Pennsylvania, and Tampa, Florida. Yuengling beer is available in fourteen states and the District of Columbia, which very much seems to follow in the founder’s tradition of delivering quality and quantity to select markets without making overly risky investments at the cost of rapid expansion.

Family and Ethnic Background

David Gottlob Jüngling was born in the village of Aldingen (today part of the town of Remseck in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg) into a family that is listed as operating Aldingen’s first brewery by 1816.[2] A passport application from 1862 describes the 56-year old David Gottlob as having blue eyes and black hair and standing five feet six inches (168 cm) tall.[3] His father, Friedrich Jüngling, operated Aldingen’s brewery in the Neues Schloss (“New Palace”), a baroque manor of which he owned one quarter, including the brewery and livestock pens.[4] Prior to starting the brewery in Aldingen, Friedrich Jüngling’s profession is listed as butcher, and he served on the town council.[5] Both positions reflected a degree of wealth and social status within the community. Although Friedrich Jüngling was born in nearby Erdmannhausen, his wife Anna Maria Jüngling (née Wildermuth) was born in Aldingen. D.G. Yuengling had three brothers and four sisters, one of whom, Christiane, also immigrated to Pennsylvania.[6] D.G. Yuengling may have apprenticed in his father’s brewery during his youth, or he may have acquired skills as a brewer through an apprenticeship at another brewery in the region. However, his older brother, Jakob, inherited their father’s brewery and reportedly continued operating it until his death in 1878. With Jakob in charge of the Jüngling family brewery, and economic opportunities in the 1820s somewhat limited, particularly in Württemberg, D. G. Yuengling chose to immigrate to Pennsylvania in 1829 via Rotterdam. Yuengling landed in Baltimore and quickly moved on to the towns of Lancaster and Reading in Pennsylvania, both of which were at the time heavily populated by German immigrants and Pennsylvania Germans whose demand for beer was already served by local entrepreneurs.[7] Yuengling likely sought a location with fewer brewers and a steady demand for fresh, locally produced beer.

The boomtown of Pottsville, deep in the anthracite coal belt of Eastern Pennsylvania, offered one such location. The town had been named for John Potts, who founded it after purchasing the first anthracite furnace along the Schuylkill River in 1806. The furnace had been in use since 1795.[8] The demand for hard coal in Philadelphia and the surrounding region led to skyrocketing prices for anthracite coal land, with one parcel selling for $33,000 more than it had been purchased for five years earlier, and another increasing by $15,000 within months.[9] Yuengling arrived in this rapidly-changing community in 1829 and set up a brewery shortly thereafter.

Business Development

Upon his arrival in the United States, David Gottlieb Yuengling carried with him his skills as a brewer, as well as possibly some startup money (Startkapital). In 1829, when Yuengling established the Eagle Brewery in Pottsville, the town was experiencing a building boom related to land speculation and increasing anthracite coal production. The daytime population, including mine workers, had jumped to over 3,700.[10] In 1832, some twenty-five taverns prospered in Pottsville and, along with numerous inns and hotel, served the drinking needs of the growing population. By comparison, in 1825, “Pottsville [had] contained only fifteen houses, three taverns, three stores, a printer’s shop, a post office, and the shops of a few craftsmen.”[11]

In addition to its increasing population, Pottsville formed an important node in an expanding regional transportation network. Trails, roads, and turnpikes linked it with other nearby communities including Schuylkill Haven, which lay along the Schuylkill River. The Schuylkill flowed in a southwesterly direction and met the Delaware River at Philadelphia. It offered an early means of waterborne transportation between interior Pennsylvania and the port of Philadelphia. The discovery of coal in Schuylkill County in 1790 spurred the construction of the Schuylkill Canal and subsequently the founding of the influential Philadelphia & Reading Railroad.[12] Both of these enterprises transported anthracite coal from Pottsville and the surrounding coal fields to Philadelphia and later New York City and improved access to materials produced outside the region. While these new transportation facilities played little to no role in beer distribution at the time due to the highly localized nature of unpasteurized beer consumption, they brought about an increase in demand for labor in the region and supported local business activities, which provided fertile ground for Yuengling’s new brewery venture.

Yuengling’s 1829 Eagle Brewery was located on Centre Street near the Schuylkill County Courthouse, which during the economic depression of the 1870s became known for the trial of striking coal miners who were decried as Molly Maguires and executed for murder. During the brewery’s early years of operation, Yuengling likely produced beer almost exclusively for the local market. Yuengling started brewing on a small scale, perhaps due to limited financial resources and access to credit, or possibly because he did not want to risk overextending himself. The brewery’s production totals reflect the precarious nature of his small business.[13] Furthermore, he likely performed most, if not all, of the brewing and distribution process himself. His beer would have been made in open kettles and vats and the production process would have been physically arduous. Brewing involved boiling a mash of grain and water to convert complex starches into simple sugars. Boiled grains would then be sparged (i.e. rinsed) with hot water in order to extract all the sugars from the grain. The resulting sweet and sticky wort would be boiled with hops and then cooled so that yeast could be added to ferment the sugars and produce alcohol. Depending on the type of beer produced, primary fermentation could take one or more weeks. In all, the demanding process required heating water, lifting heavy supplies, pumping hot liquids between vats, and transporting barrels of finished beer via hand truck or horse cart to nearby taverns and inns.[14]

While the basic process of brewing beer was not in and of itself difficult, certainly no more so than many household cooking tasks of the era, brewing beer in commercial quantities with consistent quality required a skilled artisan with extensive training in the brewing craft and access to fresh, raw ingredients such as malted grains and clean water. Yuengling likely drew on his brewing experience in Württemberg as he set up and began to operate his first brewery. When he opened the brewery in 1829, he produced English-style ales of various types including a pale ale, dark porter, and a “strong beer” with a higher alcohol content than the other varieties. These beers highlight the British influence on early American beer drinking habits in that they required the use of yeast strains that originated in the British Isles. Yuengling later introduced a southern German-style helles lager beer to his lineup, as the style gained popularity both in the German lands and in the United States in the late antebellum period. Lagers required an additional storage step (known as lagering) at cool temperatures for often more than a month after the primary fermentation process ended in order to eliminate unpleasant sulphurous smells and flavors and produce a mild, crisp, and highly-carbonated beer with lower alcohol content than many ales. The eventual distribution of the beer to taverns and inns imposed a final challenge for brewers such as Yuengling, as the fresh beer would spoil rapidly if not kept cool or consumed within a short period after being put into barrels. This meant that fresh beer had to be produced year round by the brewery (or in the case of lager during the colder months of the year) and distributed in a timely manner. In an era before pasteurization and refrigerated transport, the anthracite district surrounding Pottsville marked the effective distribution range for Yuengling’s products.[15]

After a fire destroyed the original brewery in 1832, Yuengling quickly rebuilt his enterprise at its present location on Mahantongo Street.[16] His new Eagle Brewery was situated in a location that took advantage of both natural geography and manmade features. The site at the intersection of Fifth and Mahantongo Streets lay near a freshwater spring that provided water for the community of Pottsville. The new brewery made use of this water for all brewing operations. Yuengling contracted with local laborers, possibly coal miners, to build tunnels into a mountain behind the new facility.[17] The tunnels extended underneath the brewery and kept finished beer cool, though not cold enough to prevent spoilage without the addition of ice. When Yuengling began brewing lager, the tunnels provided an ideal area for lagering the beer during cooler months. The site’s location near the local road and canal system facilitated shipment of brewing supplies to the brewery. Malt deliveries arrived from Philadelphia by horse and cart, as well as via canal boats, and Yuengling obtained ice shipments in a similar manner. By 1842, the company was receiving malt shipments by railroad, and it began distributing its beer the same way as the rail network improved during the 1850s and 1860s. These transportation facilities also enabled beer to be transported to nearby communities, many of which contained large numbers of German immigrants among their beer-drinking populations.[18]

In 1841, thirty-three-year-old David Yuengling married seventeen-year-old Elizabeth, daughter of John George and Rosine Elizabeth Betz from nearby Schuylkill Haven. Census records hint that John G. Betz, like his son-in-law, may have been a brewer by trade and the family may also have operated an inn in Schuylkill Haven.[19] Also like Yuengling, the Betz family had emigrated from the Kingdom of Württemberg. Elizabeth had been born in Stuttgart, fewer than ten miles from David Yuengling’s family home in Aldingen, on September 26, 1823.[20] Perhaps the two families had known each other in the Old World. By 1850, federal census records show that David and his then twenty-seven-year-old wife Elizabeth had five children: Elizabeth (age 6), David (age 8), Mary (age 5), Teresia (age 4), and Frederick (age 2).[21] Eventually, the couple had a total of three sons and seven daughters.[22]

David Yuengling dealt with numerous challenges during the early decades that his business was in operation. He faced competition from fellow brewers in Pottsville. At least three other breweries operated in the city in 1830. The Orchard Brewery opened around 1831 and brewed beer in Pottsville and later nearby Port Carbon until the late 1870s. Likewise, the Rettig Brewery opened at the end of the Civil War and survived until the Prohibition era. Numerous other breweries opened, brewed beer briefly, and then folded due to fires and financial difficulties.[23] Yuengling also faced a threat from prohibitionist forces in Pennsylvania. Following the passage of prohibition legislation in Maine in 1851, “dry” advocates secured the passage of a law in Pennsylvania banning Sunday sales of alcohol in 1852. Two years later, a full ban went before state voters and was narrowly defeated, in large part due to heavy turnout by beer-drinking voters, including substantial numbers of German immigrants.[24]

As David Yuengling’s three sons came of age in the 1850s and 1860s, he introduced them to the craft of brewing and put them to work in the brewery. His oldest son David Jr. apprenticed under his father and later served as a foreman for his uncle, John Frederick Betz, at Betz’s brewery in New York City. He also visited the German lands and studied the brewing craft in Munich, Stuttgart, and Klein-Schwechat, a town near Vienna in the Austrian Empire. Middle son Frederick obtained a college education and studied business at the Eastman Business School in Poughkeepsie. He later studied brewing in the German lands and Austria, as well as at the Berger and Engel Brewing Company in Philadelphia, and eventually went to work in his father’s brewery. Less is known about the education of William Yuengling, who died at the age of thirty-six in 1898.[25]

After the Civil War, David Jr. decided to strike out on his own and established a new brewing enterprise in Richmond, Virginia, in 1866. Startup capital for the new Betz, Yuengling & Beyer Brewery (later James River Brewery, D.G. Yuengling and Company) came from the Yuengling family and John Betz, David Jr.’s uncle, as well as another brewer, Louis Beyer. This small expansion project was presumably planned with input from the elder Yuengling and is typical of a careful venture into secondary markets. The Richmond brewery remained under David Jr.’s oversight until it was sold in 1878.[26]

As the senior David Yuengling neared his mid-60s, he chose to make middle-son Frederick a minority partner in the business. The legal foundation for the future of the family firm was solidified when the brewery became D.G. Yuengling and Son in 1873. That year also marked a high point in the number of breweries in the United States with over 4,000 in operation. Following the 1873 financial panic, however, the industry began to consolidate as the resulting business depression put numerous local and regional breweries out of business and ambitious and well-capitalized breweries such as Anheuser-Busch began to make inroads in regional markets outside the Midwest by taking advantage of railroad transportation and new technologies for keeping beer fresh such as pasteurization and refrigeration, both of which required significant capital investments. Consequently, the number of breweries fell by over a thousand by the mid-1870s and continued a precipitous decline through the beginning of the twentieth century, when about 1,500 remained in operation.[27]

Unlike a few of the wealthy, American “beer barons” of the late nineteenth century, Yuengling did not retire to his native Germany, not even part time. His was a privately-held, midsize business (Mittelstand), and conditions may not have allowed him to retire abroad. He may simply have decided against withdrawing too much capital from his life’s work, or perhaps he also felt a strong sense of allegiance to his community. David Gottlieb Yuengling passed away after falling on the stairs of his home after a day of working in his brewery’s office on 29 September 1877, at the age of 70.[28] Hundreds of Pottsville residents and brewery workers gathered to pay their final respects.[29] The responsibility for continuing the Yuengling brewery legacy rested with D.G. Yuengling’s sons, because women typically did not own and lead businesses enterprises. Nevertheless, the founder’s widow, Elizabeth, who lived until 1894, inherited his shares in the firm and Frederick acted as minority owner.[30]

Under Frederick Yuengling’s guidance, D.G. Yuengling and Son entered a new commercial environment for brewing in the United States. From the time of the brewery’s beginnings until the founder’s sons entered the family business, the United States underwent dramatic economic and demographic changes. Prior to 1845, immigration had been consistently fewer than 100,000 persons per year, except for one year. Subsequently, this number climbed to 350,000 and reached almost 430,000 immigrants per year by 1854, of which a significant portion was German.[31] American cities and towns expanded. Nevertheless, the overall population continued to be predominantly rural with only sixteen percent of Americans living in cities by 1860. Industrialization in the North and Midwest during and after the Civil War combined with continued immigration led to rapid urbanization in the postwar era and cities like New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Chicago grew dramatically. It must have dawned on Yuengling’s sons that the future of the brewing business did not just lie in the remote anthracite coal towns of Eastern Pennsylvania but also in the metropolitan centers that attracted the new waves of immigrants.[32]

After D.G. Yuengling’s death in 1877, David Jr.’s focus shifted towards New York City. A new brewing venture took place in what is today the Mink building in the Manhattanville neighborhood bordering on Harlem and Morningside Heights. Entering a vast and highly competitive market, such as those found in New York City and Brooklyn, was a risky business strategy but held the potential to be highly lucrative. In 1883, the New York Times noted a fire at D.G. Yuengling Jr.’s brewery, “which fronts one Hundred and Twenty-eighth-street and occupies the entire block between Ninth and Tenth avenues.”[33] According to the article, the entire building was insured for $400,000 (approximately $9.3 million dollars in 2011$).[34] Two years later, the newspaper took readers on a tour through the vast building that David Jr. had purchased in 1876, and which included one hundred horse stalls, as well as “acres and acres and acres of cellerage.”[35] The article’s author pointed out that the five caves measured 100 by 62 feet and had a capacity of 50,000 barrels. Water was supplied from a well 130 feet deep. Furthermore, a barrel elevator was able to move the containers to the ground floor. This floor contained an area measuring 200 by 60 feet, filled to capacity with stored beer. Here cooling was provided by three refrigeration machines, manufactured by the Empire Refrigeration Company of St. Louis, Missouri. Each was able to produce the equivalent of one hundred and fifty tons of ice per day, albeit through an ammonia absorption principle that produced thin coatings of ice.

For David Jr., establishing and maintaining a brewing business in the fiercely competitive, though lucrative, New York City market, which was dominated by beer barons like George Ehret of the Hell Gate Brewing Company, turned out to be both richly rewarding and extremely challenging.[36] In 1887, D.G. Yuengling Jr. and his partner William Belden seem to have had a falling out over the use of profits and the generation of revenue from the Manhattan brewery.[37] The dispute resulted in a reorganization of debt owed to one hundred creditors, with assets listed as security, including the Manhattan Brewery and the New York and Staten Island Brewing Company.[38] By 1893, it appeared that David Jr.’s uncle, John F. Betz, who owned the John F. Betz & Co. Brewery in Philadelphia, would acquire the Manhattan Brewery mortgage and brewing equipment.[39] Shortly thereafter, however, the brewery defaulted on interest payments to bondholders, which precipitated a multi-year legal battle between the majority bond holder (Betz) and minority bond holders over the assets of the firm. Betz was represented by the prominent New York law firm of Guggenheimer & Untermyer. With bond prices low due to the default, Betz continued acquiring them for a fraction of their face value and secured more than three-quarters of the total bonds for the company. From this position, he used his influence to reorganize the firm and keep David Jr. on the board of directors until 1897 when he acquired the firm outright. David Jr. later opened small breweries in Saratoga and Hudson in upstate New York with the Yuengling name.[40]

Regardless of David Jr.’s trials and tribulations, the original D.G. Yuengling & Son enterprise in Pottsville under the leadership of Frederick Yuengling and later grandson Frank Yuengling continued to thrive. Yuengling largely maintained its regional focus and benefited from the continuing economic vitality of the anthracite region of Northeast Pennsylvania. The firm distributed beer via the railroad to communities throughout Schuylkill County. However, other breweries with national ambitions such as Anheuser-Busch and Pabst began making inroads in Pennsylvania, though at first primarily in larger cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. While it only lay 90 miles from the later city, the anthracite region’s relative remoteness shielded its brewers from direct competition with these increasingly powerful firms. Brewery output reached 100,000 barrels per year in 1918, and the family diversified the firm by acquiring part-ownership in the Roseland Ballroom venues in Philadelphia and New York City, as well as numerous taverns and hotels in or near Pottsville, for all of which Yuengling & Son had the exclusive right to sell their beer.[41]

Pre-Civil War efforts to introduce alcohol prohibitions failed narrowly in Pennsylvania, which may have encouraged “dry” reformers’ continued push for alcohol bans in the state. Such efforts failed again during the so-called “local option” days, when 484,644 voters opposed a ban in 1889, compared with 296,617 voters who favored a ban.[42] According to author Mark Noon, most of those opposed to the ban in 1889 were located in counties of the Lehigh Valley near the Yuengling brewery, as well as in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.[43] The rise of organizations like the Anti-Saloon League and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WTCU) had contributed to increased national support of prohibition. Founded in the 1870s, the WTCU gained support from the Anti-Saloon League in 1893, and both saw as their goal to reduce drunkenness and alcohol-induced violence among workers who spent their wages in brewery-owned saloons. By 1916, nineteen states had banned the production of alcohol, although transportation and consumption where often not affected by these new laws. Despite the reality that much of the ills of alcohol abuse were more likely caused by liquor consumption, the German-born “beer barons” and their increasing economic influence and public displays of wealth had attracted much negative attention. The movement indirectly found a powerful ally in former President Theodore Roosevelt, who agitated at the junction where anti-German and anti-alcohol sentiments intersected. Prohibitionist sentiment during and immediately following World War I finally provided the U.S. Senate majority needed to pass the ban on alcohol production. From 1919 until 1933, Prohibition was the law of the land.[44]

Even prior to the passage of the 1919 Volstead Act, many breweries began producing the type of non-alcoholic, “near beer” that consumers are familiar with today, in which the alcohol by volume content was less than one percent, removing the intoxicating nature of the beverage. Yuengling non-alcoholic products consisted of Yuengling Port-Tor and Juvo, which were grain based, beer-like beverages. The brewery also continued to legally brew small amounts of actual beer for distribution to drug stores, where consumers where allowed to purchase pints of alcohol for medicinal purposes.[45] Another important venture was the Yuengling Dairy, which supplied dairy products during Prohibition and continued to do so for decades after. Today, the dairy building with its industrial art deco brick and sandstone design remains across the street from the Yuengling brewery in Pottsville. The view from the brewery toward the dairy guides one’s eyes further across Pottsville below and toward the towering structure of city hall, the site of D.G. Yuengling’s first Eagle Brewery building.

By 1933, the increase in organized crime during the 1920s along with lost tax revenue felt particularity during the Great Depression, contributed to efforts that resulted in the repeal of Prohibition. To celebrate the occasion, Yuengling & Son shipped a truckload of “Winner Beer” to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[46] The Twenty-First Amendment once again legalized mass production and distribution of beer, although every subsequent decade would see a decline in the number of production breweries in the U.S. This decline continued until the 1980s, when the impact of legislation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 legalizing home brewing became more widely felt and the public’s interest in craft beers and niche breweries increased.

Social Status, Networks, Family Life

Throughout his life in the United States, David G. Yuengling was an active member of the Pottsville community. He was the first president of the Pottsville Gas Company and later a director of the Pottsville Water Company.[47] Yuengling also supported the German Lutheran Church in Pottsville and contributed $10,000 for the construction of the church building, and served as a vestryman (council member).[48] His posts with the gas and water companies illustrate Yuengling’s concern with encouraging progress in Pottsville, as well as securing the supply of resources necessary for his brewing business. Unlike the Forty-Eighters, German immigrants who had escaped reactionary monarchies in Europe and who tended to vote Republican, Yuengling was a Democrat. Whereas the Democratic Party had embraced the nativist and anti-immigrant cause by 1848, the Republican Party and its rising star Abraham Lincoln had been founded by anti-slavery Whigs and Free Soilers.[49] Yuengling, however, had immigrated to America twenty years prior, during the era of Jacksonian democracy with President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat, at the helm in the White House. Jackson’s message had been one of economic opportunity and democracy for the common, white man, as well as the preservation of the Union. At the same time, though he was a Democrat, David Yuengling also belonged to two secret societies, the Masons and the German Order of the Harugari (Der Deutsche Orden der Harugari), a mutual aid society founded in response to nativist actions against German immigrants.[50] Like his father, Frederick Yuengling also served the community of Pottsville as president of the Pottsville Gas Company, as well as a “director of the Safe Deposit Bank and of the Pottsville Water Company.”[51]

In addition to his engagement in the Pottsville community, which served the development of the town as well as his own business interests, David Yuengling committed time, skills, and experience to establish and further the brewing careers of a number of fellow German immigrants. His brother-in-law, John F. Betz, himself the son of a brewer, served an apprenticeship in the Yuengling brewery before participating in a grand brewing tour in Europe and establishing a brewery in New York City and later Philadelphia. Betz went on to build a brewing empire in the City of Brotherly Love and later, as previously noted, helped bail out David Yuengling Jr.’s failing brewery in New York City in the late 1890s. Henry C. Clausen Sr. was a second prominent brewer who started as a Yuengling apprentice. Clausen and John Betz co-owned a brewery in New York City and the former founded the H. Clausen and Son Brewery in the 1870s, which was for a time one of the largest breweries by production total in the nation. His son, Henry C. Clausen Jr., later founded and served as president of the U.S. Brewers’ Association.[52]

As an immigrant entrepreneur, David Yuengling Sr. drew on his background in the Old Country while embracing new opportunities available in the U.S. His participation in the local Lutheran community and his membership in the German Order of the Harugari attest to his desire to sustain elements of his German ethnic heritage even after living in the United States for many years. His craft training in the German lands provided him with the technical skills necessary to produce quality beer in a new environment. He began brewing English-style beers, both because they were popular with the local drinking public in Pennsylvania and also because his training in the 1820s would have involved brewing ales. He proved open to new innovations in brewing, however, and began working with lager beer as the style became popular both in Central Europe and in the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century. Today, D.G. Yuengling & Son’s flagship beer harkens back to the lager beers brewed by David Yuengling during the Civil War era.


David Gottlieb Yuengling arrived in the U.S. with brewing skills, entrepreneurial desire, and perhaps a small amount of startup capital. He succeeded in building a business with an enduring legacy with a product that has become a regional and increasingly national favorite. Except for attempts by the second generation to compete directly with the major metropolitan breweries in New York City, the owners of D.G. Yuengling & Son have charted the careful course of expansion pioneered by the firm’s founder. The long-term success of Yuengling & Son was recognized in the United States bicentennial year of 1976, when the brewery was placed on national and state registers as America’s oldest brewery — public acknowledgment of the founder’s vision and his descendants’ ability to build on his success.


[1] Article written with contributions by Benjamin Schwantes, German Historical Institute. “Yuengling becomes largest U.S. Brewery,” The Morning Call, January 15, 2012.

[2] Information kindly provided by the Stadtarchiv Remseck, Remseck-Neckarrems.

[3] David Gotlape [sic] Yuengling, U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925, http://www.ancestry.com (accessed January 19, 2012).

[4] Stadt Remseck am Neckar, Kulturamt, ed. Historischer Rundgang durch Remseck-Aldingen, 2008 (accessed January 13, 2014). The manor house had been built in 1580, was purchased by citizens from Aldingen in 1795, and by 1836 also housed the local school and village administration.

[5] Information provided by the Stadtarchiv Remseck, Remseck-Neckarrems.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Edith C. Yuengling, “The Story of the Yuengling Brewery,” [1957] in Publications of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County (Pottsville, PA: The Historical Society of Schuylkill County, 1989), 39.

[9] Ronald Filippelli, “Pottsville: Boom Town: The Impact of the Schuylkill Navigation Company on the Growth of Pottsville,” Historical Review of Berks County 35:4 (1970): 126-55, here 128.

[10] Cited in: Edith C. Yuengling, 39.

[11] Filippelli, 128.

[12] The Pennsylvania State Legislature prohibited the Schuylkill Navigation Company from entering the coal business, which meant that the canal could operate as a public waterway open to private enterprise. Ronald Filippelli, 127.

[13] Mark A. Noon, Yuengling: A History of America’s Oldest Brewery (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2007), 19.

[14] Ibid., 18-19.

[15] Ibid., 24-25.

[16] History of Schuylkill County, Pa.: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers (New York: W.W. Munsell, 1881), 271.

[17] Docent tour, D. G. Yuengling & Son Brewery, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, March 12, 2012.

[18] Edith C. Yuengling, 41; Noon, 26, 47-48, 57.

[19] Noon, 42, 73. John G Betz, 1870 United States Federal Census, (accessed May 14, 2013).

[20]Elizabeth Betz Yuengling,” Find A Grave, (accessed January 13, 2014).

[21] “Elizabeth Yuengling,” 1850 United States Federal Census, http://www.ancestry.com/ (accessed January 19, 2012). The spellings recorded in the Census do not necessarily reflect the actual spellings of names.

[22] David Jr., Frederick, William, Elizabeth, Mary, Sophie, Theresa, Carrie, Emma, and Laura. Adolf Schalk and David Henning, eds., History of Schuylkill County, Volume II (Pennsylvania, State Historical Association, 1907), 546. Noon, 42.

[23] Noon, 29-30.

[24] Ibid., 39.

[25] Edith C. Yuengling, 43; Noon, 49, 76-77.

[26] Edith C. Yuengling, 45; Noon, 49, 77-78.

[27] Noon, 45-47.

[28] Ibid., 5.

[29] Ibid., 6.

[30] Ibid., 51.

[31] E. J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Capital, 1848-1875 (New York: Meridian Classic, 1984), page 213.

[32] Ibid., 150-151.

[33] “Fire in Yuengling’s Brewery,” New York Times, June 30, 1883, 1.

[34] All monetary conversions to 2011 dollars have been done using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The conversion provides a rough approximation of current values for historical monetary sums based on the changing costs of household purchases including food, housing, medical care, and so forth. Conversion calculations were conducted via Measuring Worth.

[35] “A Model Brewery. The Establishment of David G. Yuengling Jr.–Acres of Cool Cellars,” New York Times, June 7, 1885, 4.

[36] George Ehret’s success and the history of brewing in New York City is the subject of the exhibit “Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History,” on display from 25 May 25th-2 September 2012 at the New-York Historical Society.

[37] “Partners Falling Out. Yuengling and Belden Both Applying for Receivers,” New York Times, September 7, 1887, 8.

[38] “Brewer Yuengling’s Creditors,” New York Times, October 19, 1887, 8.

[39] “Suit Between Big Brewers. J.F. Betz’s Action on a Mortgage on the D. G. Yuengling Jr., Brewery,” New York Times, June 4, 1893, 14.

[40] “Auction Sales of Realty,” New York Times, October 23, 1893, 3. Noon, 82-83. Also see “No Plan Yet Adopted,” New York Times, December 6, 1892, 8; “Called It High Handed,” New York Times, December 30, 1894, 9; “Minority Will Fight” New York Times, January 1, 1895; 16

[41] Noon, 56-57, Appendix A.

[42] Ibid., 109.

[43] Ibid.

[44] H.W. Brands, T. H. Breen, R. Hal Williams and Ariela J. Gross, American Stories: A History of the United States (New York: Pearson Longman, 2009), 690.

[45] Docent tour, D. G. Yuengling & Son Brewery, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, March 12, 2012.

[46]Yuengling: Our Story” (accessed May 27, 2012).

[47] Adolf Schalk and David Henning, eds., History of Schuylkill County, Volume II (Pennsylvania, State Historical Association, 1907), 546.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Joseph Wandel, The German Dimension of American History (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1979), 84-86.

[50] Noon, 37.

[51] Ibid., 52.

[52] Ibid., 73-76.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title David Gottlieb Yuengling
  • Coverage 1808-1877
  • Author
  • Website Name Immigrant Entrepreneurship
  • URL
  • Access Date July 23, 2024
  • Publisher German Historical Institute
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 22, 2018