Pottsville, PA (ABCNews.com) -- When David G. Yuengling arrived in America, he followed many of his fellow German immigrants to the hills of eastern Pennsylvania, where coal was king.
In 1829, he settled in Pottsville, Pa., a town that laid claim to discovering anthracite coal just a few decades earlier.
But Yuengling didn't need to dig for coal. He brought a skill with him from Germany -- brewing beer -- so he opened a brewery.
The coal boom has long since come and gone for Pottsville and the Pennsylvania coal region, but Yuengling's brewery remains. And today, over a 180 years later D.G. Yuengling & Son is still going strong and can proudly call itself the oldest brewery in America.
Richard L. Yuengling, Jr., 66, or Dick as everyone calls him, is the current caretaker of the family business, the fifth generation of Yuengling sons to do so.
Following Yuengling family tradition, Dick Yuengling bought the company from his father in 1985, rather than inherit the family property. At the time, the brewery was floundering and its very survival was in doubt. Like many other regional breweries at the time, Yuengling was struggling to compete with larger national brands.
But with some of Dick Yuengling's famous thrift, clever marketing, and old fashioned hard work, the Yuengling Brewery is now thriving.
"We have grown since I bought the company in 1985, we've grown from 137,000 barrels. We should hit two million barrels this year, said Yuengling.
"We're now the second-largest brewer in the United States, and we're only a couple thousand barrels behind Samuel Adams, that sells its beer throughout 50 states and we're only in 13, so we're doing fine. It's quite a success story that we've had here."
Yuengling is also the largest privately owned domestic brewer with brewing behemoths like Anheiser-Busch and MillerCoors having been acquired by foreign companies.
Despite the chance to cash in and skip town, Dick Yuengling has refused to sell.
"The family's been loyal to Pottsville," said Bob Dittmars, a Pottsville resident and owner of Marroons Sports Bar & Grill. "They could have sold. I'm sure many times to big companies like some other breweries have, but they haven't. It's a Pottsville tradition. And consequently, the people from the area are very loyal to Yuengling."
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