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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Let's beat up Dick Yuengling again!

Saw this...blather on PhillyMag's blog today, and just lost it. Gene Marks, a business consultant who writes...a lot, decided that he was going to take Dick Yuengling to task for something The Dickster said in a recent interview. Here's what Dick said about why he may or may not open an expansion brewery in western Pennsylvania:
“Some states are very economically friendly,” Yuengling said. “We don’t necessarily base business decisions on incentives like that. But if they are going to give them to somebody, we would stand there and take them.”
“Pennsylvania is a great location. But it’s not very business-friendly. You look for fair tax breaks, fair taxation. And the bottom line is more jobs. That’s what it’s all about.”
And Marks jumped all over him for it, mainly making the point that Yuengling -- because he mentioned that he might locate a new brewery in another state -- is just another entitled grabber, sticking out his hand for something he doesn't deserve.
So can we all admit that we’re the same? The unions. The small-business owners. The down-and-out workers. The big business executives. The 99 percent. In the end, we’re all trying to negotiate the best deal we can, regardless of the effects elsewhere. We’re all going to take it if we can get it. Whether we’re entitled to it or not.
Marks clearly doesn't know Dick. This is the last person to think he's NOT 'all the same.' He drives a well-used Ford. He wears jeans and flannel shirts. He still has his office in the 1831 building that houses the brewery, in Pottsville. He chainsmokes, and uses a coffee cup for an ashtray. He's folks.

I'm so tired of this being beaten to death for political reasons, because this is about the election. Did you miss that "99 percent," didja know Dick's a Republican? Can we put that crap aside just once before November? Dick Yuengling kept jobs in Pennsylvania when other breweries in the state were closing. He added jobs in Pennsylvania when he built his new brewery here. And now he needs to expand, and he says that he may not build another brewery here...and now he's evil.

Give me a break. This man's business decisions saved America's oldest brewery, gave union workers in Florida back their jobs (when Yuengling re-opened the Stroh brewery in Tampa, which went under because of bad business decisions), and made this the biggest American-owned brewery in 2012. I'm sorry; if the man wants to open a brewery somewhere else -- New England, maybe, or the Midwest -- that's his prerogative. It's his business, it's not a corporation. He can do whatever he wants with it.

And you know what? Doing just that -- whatever he wants with it -- has worked out really, REALLY well for his employees, for the thousands of people in PA who sell Yuengling, and for the residents of Pottsville. I'd say let him keep doing what he's doing.


John Fay said...

Amen, in addition it makes sense to brew closer to the people drinking the beer, it will be fresher and taste better!

David G said...

So we should ignore Dick Yuengling's political baiting because that would be political? C'mon.

Lew Bryson said...

Since we don't have the context of the question, I'd have to guess that it was more Yuengling who was baited. It doesn't seem like the kind of answer that would simply be offered. Besides...if Dick's a Republican, why would he be baiting a Republican governor and legislature? Sorry, again: that sounds like crap to me.

JP said...

I don’t think he is beating up on Dick Yuengling but merely drawing a equivalency( a touch indelicately) between Unions and other supply side organizations in that all of these groups employ rent seeking and other coercive measures to increase profits. A lot of people seem to think that there are unions and everything else is world of perfect markets and free competition. This Gene Marks is merely pointing out that is a completely false premise, (quite effectively I might add). I understand you not liking the fact he used a local hero like Dick Yuengling to draw such a comparison, but it is a fair comparison. Now as for me, I don’t think rent seeking is always a bad thing and personally hope that the state would create some incentives for a great local business like Yuengling to expand in Western Pa. But if somebody agrees with that premise they should probably not get their panties in a bunch when a see some small time union contractor making more than the market would otherwise bear becuase it is pretty much the same thing.

Zaphod B. said...

"Marks clearly doesn't know Dick."
OK, that was very (unintentionally?) funny.

I don't know Dick either, but I hear he's an exceptionally nice, down-to-Earth guy. Sounds like someone I could sit down and have a few beers with... as long as they weren't his lager (which I'm not really a fan of). Hopefully he wouldn't mind... from what I know of the man, I don't think he would.

Lew Bryson said...

The "touch indelicately" part is what it's all about. I mean, his other examples are solidly engaged in the behavior; Yuengling just said he was open to it, and as noted above, we've no idea what triggered the comment. I think Marks set up a strawman to make a bully's point in an election season, mostly, and given everything that Dick's done in PA -- without being asked to, just to make his business run -- I don't like him being used as the strawman.

Dr. Beeblebrox -- yes, it was intentional. Couldn't pass it up. I don't know that I'd say Dick was "exceptionally nice," but the man is honest and speaks his mind.

J said...

The question is whether he's building an additional brewery elsewhere or building a replacement brewery elsewhere. The indications from the reports were that he's looking or considering moving production out of state or to western PA (same difference really), not just building another brewery while keeping operations in Pottsville. Is that not your sense?

Lew Bryson said...

Not in the least. He won't close the original brewery, it's their historic anchor. And he's just put a LOT of money into expanding the other PA brewery, so that just doesn't make sense. And the Tampa brewery is well-positioned for the South.

I have to be honest...I don't know why he's even considering a FOURTH brewery. I'd be expanding the second PA brewery. It's close to interstates and rail links, what's the big deal?

But moving production out of state? No, don't see that happening.

Anonymous said...

Having read the two articles that sparked this thing (in the Harrisburg paper), here is my take. Dick was doing nothing more than playing Republican politics. The context of the discussion centered on a possible Western Pa. brewery. Frankly, that would make zero business sense, with or without incentives. Logistics-wise, if he were to expand westward, the sensible choice would not be Western Pa. But he used the interview as an opportunity to spout the predictable conservative banter about Pa. being unfriendly to business and needing more tax breaks. Which makes no sense since he has obviously done quite well in Pa. And who cares? We don't need Dick and his corn beer. We have more fantastic breweries in this state than we can ever hope to taste in our lifetimes, unless we get lucky like Lew and get a gig writing about beer and whiskey, instead of working for a living.

Lew Bryson said...

Whatever. Just be careful that you don't fall when you get down from your soapbox...

a different anonymous said...

I think overshadowed in all of this is that it is totally uncool and irresponsible as a writer to incite readers to beat up Dick Yuengling. the guy deserve our respect, not to be beat up.

"Let's beat up Dick Yuengling again!"

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a consumer....

Politics schmolitics...I love his beer. It's his business to do what he pleases with said business.

Simple as that.

Enjoying your blog btw Lewis. 8-)