Case Study: Yuengling

Discovering untapped opportunities for a bold new beer

How does a beer brand that can proudly call itself America’s Oldest Brewery continue to compete and thrive in a crowded, modern marketplace? Learn how we helped Yuengling rethink its position in core markets, and in so doing, discovered an opportunity to help launch its first new year-round product in almost two decades: Yuengling Golden Pilsner.


Established in 1829 in Pottsville, PA, Yuengling is America’s oldest brewery. Run today by the all-female sixth generation of the Yuengling family, the brand is best known for its Traditional Lager and Light Lager, as well as its Black & Tan half-and-half style beer. Despite having grown into the largest craft brewery in the country, Yuengling recognized an opportunity to better compete in large and growing areas of the market.

In addition to partnering with Bailey on a complete packaging design refresh for its three core beers, Yuengling worked closely with Bailey to tackle this new challenge: how could the brand better understand its consumers and position itself to grow in key market categories?

How we partnered together
Bailey Brand Consulting worked closely with Yuengling to explore potential untapped opportunities in three key phases:

  1. Bailey conducted extensive digital ethnographic research to understand existing perceptions and opportunities in the market. Utilizing a customized online portal, we created a consumer research community featuring a diverse group of engaged beer drinkers (including men and women, brand acceptors and rejecters and a range of other representative demographics). We engaged with this research community online through interactive questions, polls and creative exercises including images and video uploads. We were able to gather deep insight into beer shopping and consumption as well as brand perceptions and underlying behavioral drivers. We were also able to bring a subset of the research community together for an in-person focus group and beer tasting to further hone our data and explore new product concepts and taste profiles.
     
  2. In addition to incremental improvements in Yuengling’s existing core brands, our research indicated a distinct but even larger opportunity and gap in the brand portfolio: clear consumer demand for a crisp, smooth and refreshing flavor profile that none of Yuengling’s core products fully fit. The solution? The first year-round expansion of the company’s portfolio in 17 years.
     
  3. Bailey developed initial brand, naming and visual concepts for a pilsner-style beer consistent with the feedback we received through our research community. We partnered with Yuengling’s marketing and internal design teams to guide them through multiple ideation sessions and the process of a new product launch. Yuengling’s brewers dug deep into their archives and began experimenting with updates to their classic pilsner recipe. After months of internal testing and wide-ranging exploration of new brand, visual and product concepts and consumer validation, Yuengling Golden Pilsner was born.

What happened next

On April 1, 2018, Yuengling proudly introduced its new Golden Pilsner. This bold addition to the Yuengling core beer lineup represents an important step forward for the sixth generation of the Yuengling family, opening up the brand to new markets and incremental consumers. The success of the initiative stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, and helps strongly position America’s Oldest Brewery for future success. Yuengling Golden Pilsner will be rolled out to the brand’s entire 22-state footprint by the end of the year.

“Bailey team—it’s finally here—Golden Pilsner is starting to roll out of the brewery this week! Thank you again for your help with this important initiative for our brewery. We couldn’t have gotten here without your help on research learnings and design—many thanks!”

– Director of Marketing, D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc.