Excited about Yuengling beer coming to Kentucky? Well, if you support unions, care about the environment, and can’t believe anyone would vote for Donald Trump, you may want to re-think your excitement.
The problem isn’t the beer itself, which has built a strong following. The problem is the ongoing actions of its leadership, which is one family: the Yuenglings.
Dick Yuengling, the billionaire owner of the brewery, has been anti-union for decades, beginning with his own company. In 2006, he gathered his workers and told them to “read between the lines” as he started pushing for so-called “right to work” laws for Pennsylvania, the home of the brewery.
He followed this up by petitioning for a decertification vote of the union representing his workers when the contract with the workers (negotiated by that union) came up for renewal. Yuengling told his workers that if they didn’t vote to decertify the union, he would close the plant and move it to another state. Even though such coercion is illegal, he got away with it, and the union was forced out.
Polluting drinking water
From 2008 to 2015, the brewery discharged the wastewater from its brewing processes into the city’s wastewater treatment facilities without pretreating it. The company was warned that this posed a threat to the Schuylkill River, which supplies the drinking water for 1.5 million people, but continued the practice.
After being cited by the EPA for 141 separate violations, the company agreed to a $1.8 million fine and built its own wastewater treatment facility for $7 million.
Not paying taxes
In 2013, the city of Philadelphia cited Yuengling Brewery for $6.6 million in back taxes. When Yuengling refused to pay, the city filed suit. Yuengling commented at the time that he thought the city was “coming after him” because of the city’s bad spending practices.
In October, Dick Yuengling gave Eric Trump a tour of the Yuengling plant, and told the son of the candidate, “Our guys are behind your father. We need him in there.”
The verbal endorsement was widely reported, and led to a boycott of the beer by some anti-Trump beer drinkers.
Now in Kentucky
As Yuengling Beer adds Kentucky to its distribution mix, beer drinkers across the state will have to decide if they want their beer money to support these practices. Many union members have already stated that they will continue to boycott Yuengling beer, even as it becomes available near them. Will others join them?
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- Yuengling Brewery billionaire pushes “right-to-work” in my home county
- Union Busting Ended My Love Affair with a Beer
- EPA cites Yuengling for clean water violations
- Yuengling goes for Trump