By Erin Negley
Reading Eagle, Pa.
The sixth generation of D.G. Yuengling & Sons faces a lot of pressure to find the balance of innovation and growth while remaining true to the brewery, the country’s oldest.
There’s also the challenges of working with your family and the everyday business challenges.
Plus this up-and-coming generation are four sisters who weigh work-life balance and being accepted in a male-dominated industry.
Daunting, maybe, but Wendy Yuengling Baker is excited about the future she and her sisters have at the company.
“This will be the first time that the brewery will be run by a woman so it’s pretty significant and pretty exciting for us,” she said Wednesday.
Yuengling Baker spoke Wednesday about being part of the sixth generation of her family business, D.G. Yuengling & Sons Inc. and the challenges of being a women in the brewing industry. The event was sponsored by Alvernia University’s Family Business Center and attracted about 50 people to the McGlinn Conference Center.
When Yuengling Baker left Lehigh University with a marketing degree, she worked in marketing and advertising elsewhere. She thought twice about the family business after reading a magazine profile about Yuengling’s success.
“I realized that I had a tremendous opportunity to be part of something unique,” Yuengling Baker said.
She came back to the family business a decade ago and spent time getting the know the business, working in sales, marketing, the packaging line and the brewery. She’s now chief administrative officer and handles marketing and administration at the Pottsville brewery. Older sister Jennifer Yuengling works in production and operations.
Their father, Dick Yuengling Jr., bought the family business from his father in 1985. He built the company into the largest privately-held brewery in America, producing 2.8 million barrels of beer in 2013, Yuengling Baker said.
Yuengling Baker, 38, is a mother and said it’s tough to balance work with raising a family.
“It’s very hard to achieve everything like society talks about,” she said. “I think you have to sacrifice, and that’s one of the challenges to being a working woman and being in a family business. But the benefit I think far outweighs that. I think the benefit of being a woman in a family business can oftentimes be that there is better acceptance of juggling a career and a family.”
She suggested entering a family business with a plan about your role with the company, seek out outside resources and sometimes figure out things on your own.