Does Yuengling Really Make Ice Cream?

If you went around and asked folks to name some famous U.S. breweries off the top of their head, you'd most likely get the usual answers of Budweiser, Coors, Miller, and Yuengling. But if you were to ask those same people to name a company that makes ice cream, you may not expect Yuengling to be on that same list. 

Located in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery boasts the title of America's Oldest Brewery (via Brewers of Pennsylvania), which has been in operation since 1829. Since the company has been around for quite some time, it's lived through more than a few historical events, such as the Civil War, both World Wars, and of course, Prohibition. Indeed, it was Prohibition that put Yuengling's entire company on the line.

How exactly could a brewery that relied on selling beer survive in a time when alcohol was outlawed in the United States? As many breweries and distributors folded, it might have seemed like Yuengling was destined to join them. Fortunately, Yuengling wasn't prepared to go down without a fight. If they couldn't sell beer, why not try selling something else?

Yuengling sold near beer and ice cream to keep afloat

As History tells us, Yuengling didn't need to look too far to find a solution. While other breweries switched to producing juice and soft drinks to keep income flowing, Yuengling focused on selling ice cream to former beer-thirsty customers instead. This was a blessing for the brewery in two ways: Ice cream was becoming increasingly popular, and the brewery was surprisingly well-equipped to store large amounts of ice cream. Schuylkill County was rich in farmland, allowing Yuengling a vast supply of fresh dairy to produce its ice cream treats. Yuengling even announced that the ice cream venture would be Pottsville's "newest industry" (via Wynning History).

Of course, the brewery couldn't just abandon beer-making — it was in its blood, after all. Yuengling began to produce "near beer," drinks with a similar taste to its famous beer but with less than 0.1% alcohol content (via Sanctuary Brewing Company). While it wasn't the same as its original beer, the combination of "near beer" and ice cream helped to keep the brewery afloat during the Prohibition years.

According to Penn Live Patriot-News, when Prohibition ended in 1933, Yuengling sent a "truckload" of specialty-made "Winner Beer" directly to the White House for the personal enjoyment of then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As for the ice cream part of the brewery, Yuengling's Ice Cream is still in operation. Why not pair the sweet treat with a glass of Yuengling's Hershey's chocolate beer to get the full experience?