The bond between siblings is something that is to be cherished. Siblings are, and always will be your closest friends, they will always be there when you need a shoulder to cry on, and of course, they will always give you a hard time when you ask for it. In many instances, family businesses are passed along to siblings, sometimes for generations. In the case of Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery, four sisters, Jen, Wendy, Debbie, and Sheryl Yuengling, have taken on the responsibility of carrying on a tradition that is almost 200 years old.
In the late 1990s, Richard “Dick” Yuengling Jr. asked his daughters if they would be interested in joining the family business. In a predominantly male-dominated industry, you can imagine that the girls felt a lot of pressure at the time, but given the history of the brewery, and the legacy that was passed down through their family for almost two centuries, all four sisters enthusiastically accepted their fathers offer. At first, Dick Yuengling used his leadership abilities to train his daughters into eventually taking control of the brewery. Over time, Dick consulted with his daughters before implementing any changes, really showing how highly he thought of his daughters and the value that he believed they could provide to the business.
As the years passed, each of the four sisters transitioned into the leadership roles that they now hold. Jen oversees all of the brewery operations, holding the title of Vice President of Operations, Wendy handles all things marketing related as Chief Administrative Officer, Debbie handles sales and pricing as Sales Administration and Pricing Manager, and Sheryl serves as Order Services Administrator. With 77-year-old Dick Yuengling at the helm, Yuengling continues to carry on their tradition of making wonderful beer, all while keeping the business run by family members.
Rightfully so, as all siblings do, the sisters disagree on some things which has caused them to challenge each other to compromise on what is right for the overall business. The sisters’ father does a fantastic job leading the business through times of trouble, often serving as the deciding factor for some disagreements that may occur between his daughters. One thing that they are always sure to do is listen to their customers, as they are the backbone and driving force of any business. Wendy stated in a previous interview that she gave for Forbes, “Each previous generation of Yuengling Brewing has left their mark on the business, but also set up the next generation to succeed.”
Yuengling has introduced two new additions to the product line within the last two years,Golden Pilsner, and, most recently, FLIGHT. Innovation is something that Yuengling is not known for, as their Lager accounts for a large portion of their business. The sisters worked together and decided that in order for them to succeed, and pave the way for future generations, they must ahere to the times and interests of their consumers and innovate.
One thing is for sure, all four sisters are having the time of their lives working for the family business. My family has always instilled in me to make sure that I am happy with my career choice over everything else. Money and popularity mean nothing if you are unhappy with what you do. To see that the Yuengling sisters are extremely passionate about their work not only is great for their overall happiness, but it sets the brewery up for success for years to come. The Yuengling sisters are just a small portion of the vast history that Yuengling has, but one thing is for sure, they are definitely making their mark.