A new flavor has come to Arkansas. Yuengling beer was served in bars in the Natural State for the first time Monday, Jan. 29. And it hopes to challenge some of the local favorites.
Grumpy’s Too was one of many local bars that hosted special events to mark Yuengling’s debut.
“Soon as they let us know that it was going to be out,” said Josh Smith, a Grumpy’s Too manager, “we told them we wanted to make sure we were one of the first that had all three taps.”
Brewski’s was another bar in which the staff was optimistic about what Yuengling might do for its revenue.
“You heard a lot about it in the last couple weeks,” Gabriel Harrison, a bartender, said. “But now, since it’s actually here, you can tell, like, the people that’s coming here are coming here just for that.”
Harvey Beech and his friends were among many who went to Brewski’s just for a chance to have a Yuengling. He said he has been a fan of the brewery for more than a decade, thanks to his connections.
"It's just smooth, and it don't have a bad aftertaste at all,” Beech said. “A guy that used to work for me is from Pennsylvania. He used to bring it to me, and that's how I've been getting it this whole time."
Only three varieties are available on draft right now: Traditional Lager, Light Lager, and Black and Tan. Those three taps were busy for most of the night at both Grumpy’s Too and Brewski’s. But there was no consensus about how long Little Rock’s love affair with Yuengling might last.
“I think that it’s going to be, initially, it’s gonna be big-time,” Smith said. “A lot of people are going to get on board and drink it for a while. And then they’ll probably resort back to their old habits.”
“We’ve got such a good group of local breweries, you know,” Beech said. “There’s a lot of folks been drinking that around here for a long time. This is just an out-of-towner coming in.”
Harrison, however, thought the addition of Yuengling might have a lasting impact on the local beer scene.
“I think it was a smart move,” she said, “because a lot of people that moved here from other places are, like, ‘we had this, and I’ve been here 20 years, and we haven’t had it at any bar here.’ So, a lot of people are coming in here now because they’re excited to have a piece of home here.”
Harrison said nearly every beer she poured Monday evening was a Yuengling. Smith speculated that many people like it because it remains American-owned and family-owned, as the oldest brewery in the country. Beech said he knows it will have a fanbase here, and was not surprised the company finally decided to enter the Arkansas market.
“I figured it’d get over here before too long,” he said. “It’s too good of a beer not to!”
For now, Yuengling is only available on tap. The company said that local stores will have it on their shelves in the next couple of weeks.