- Four sisters run Yuengling, the oldest family-run brewery in America producing more than 2 million barrels of beer annually.
- Each sister brings a different skill set to the company, which helps keep the brewery flowing.
- If the sisters have a new idea, they run it by their father, Dick Yuengling, before moving forward.
Yuengling is the oldest family-run brewery in America producing more than 2 million barrels of beer annually. Four sisters, Jen, Wendy, Debbie, and Sheryl Yuengling, were asked by their father if they wanted to join the family business and help run the brewery in the late 1990s.
Jen and Wendy recently sat down for an interview for Business Insider’s podcast “This Is Success.” Wendy handles marketing and Jen runs operations at the brewery but studied psychology in college, which she said helps the family dynamic.
“I think we make it work very well because we each have different skill sets and we’re each responsible for different roles and we play different roles,” Jen said.
At first, patriarch Dick Yuengling ran the company as any entrepreneur would and made several decisions without consulting his daughters. But over time, that changed and the family dynamic grew stronger each year the sisters worked at the brewery.
“Over the last few years, as we’ve all sort of stepped into leadership roles and are more involved, I think we are taking more pressure off of our dad and taking off of his plate and starting to run with certain things in the business, and we each drive certain parts of the company,” Wendy said.
Today, if the sisters have a new idea for the company, they always run it by their 75-year-old father.
“And he’s been quintessential entrepreneur and he’s on the down slope of that, which is to be expected, but the fact that he’s very supportive of some of these newer initiatives that we’ve set about – that saw the Golden Pilsner,” Jen said.
Yuengling recently came out with the Golden Pilsner, the first new Yuengling product in 17 years. Wendy said there are moments where they have to persuade their father to move forward on projects.
“It probably happens once a week, but I think if we truly believe it’s the right thing for the company and it’s the right thing for the brand’s long term, we continue to make a case and he eventually does come around on most things,” Wendy said.
Since 1985, Dick has been running the brewery and working out of the Yuengling offices.
“He’s there every day, twice a day, but I think it means something to him that we’re there alongside him and we’re working long hours aside him, and I think there’s some comfort seeing that we’re taking on more responsibility, and I think he’s got confidence in what we’re doing,” Wendy said.
Jen added: “In the most recent years, too, and maybe not so much as a company overall but personally, and where we’ve grown and really how he’s grown too with the company, and allowing us to assume these leadership roles.”
Listen to the full episode and subscribe to “This Is Success” on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
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