Yuengling’s, the Pottsville, Pennsylvania. brand that can simultaneously claim to be the nation’s oldest brewery and the craft beer industry’s biggest seller, is introducing a new low-calorie beer that will be available in 22 states beginning in March.
It’s also enlisted soccer star Rose Lavelle and country singer/actress Lauren Alaina as “brand ambassadors” for its new brew, called Flight. Television commercials are coming.
Flight’s 4.2% alcohol content by volume has the same potency as Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite, the big three of the category.
That’s actually more than the 3.2% in Yuengling’s existing Light Lager -- which has 99 calories and 8.5 grams of carbs per bottle.
Meanwhile, Flight has just 95 calories and just 2.6 grams of carbs -- low enough carb load to get some attention in a category whose drinkers are far more interested in those statistics than the alcoholic wallop. (It’s the lure of low calories and low carbs that seems to be fueling the hard seltzer explosion.)
Yuengling’s overall ad tagline is “Raise the Bar," and Flight will proclaim it’s “The Next Generation of Light Beer.” That acknowledges the brand's previous versions, but also references that currently the sixth generation of Yuenglings -- all women -- run the brewery.
Indeed, the company says the beer's modern wing logo pays homage to Yuengling’s iconic eagle logo that has been around since D.G. Yuengling’s original Eagle Brewery.
“Recognizing an opportunity in the light beer category, we have been working to deliver an upscale refreshment brand that fits within the active lifestyles of today’s consumers,” said Jennifer Yuengling, vice president of operations, in a statement.
Yuengling doesn’t seem to fit as a craft beer in the popular stereotype. Craft beers are usually start-ups with fun names and edgy concoctions. But Yuengling has been around since 1829 and trademarked the boast, “America’s Oldest Brewery.”
Its boldest concession to typical craft beer recipes is its Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter, produced with chocolate from that historic Pennsylvania candy maker, headquartered an hour away.
Yuengling qualifies as a craft beer because its output is below 6 million barrels a year and because it is not more than 25% owned by another business that is a major beer maker, as in Anheuser-Busch InBev or Molson Coors.
But in the places where it is sold -- most heavily in the East -- a nuts-and-bolts drinker who would not be caught dead ordering a craft beer can order a Yuengling without a second’s hesitation.