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Yuengling — Lager Leader and … Ice Cream Icon?

Yuengling — pronounced “ying ling” for those unfamiliar with the name — is a big-time private beer company that’s a favorite among many American consumers. But a recent SEC filing reminded me of an interesting bit of history: that Yuengling lager sales have in the past been supplemented by a line of Yuengling ice cream products.

And a recent SEC filing last week involved the offering of securities in Yuengling’s Ice Cream Corp., which might imply that a focus on this under-the-radar business could ramp up.

Now, an SEC filing like this doesn’t mean that there’s a Yuengling IPO coming down the pike anytime soon, but even as a private company, there are equity stakes (ostensibly shares) in Yuengling owned by a variety of folks — including the Yuengling family, of course. And that’s what the SEC filing about Yuengling’s Ice Cream Corp. was all about.

But the fact that some significant equity is changing hands among executives in a company with zero revenue (according to the filing) and has just been incorporated in 2013 could hint that Yuengling’s Ice Cream Corp. could start cranking up production to take advantage of its growing brand power.

Yuengling ice cream isn’t as crazy as it sounds. According to the company’s website, “During prohibition Yuengling made near-beer which was .5% alcohol. The family also opened The Yuengling Dairy, the former Ice Cream and Dairy plant was open until 1985.”

When I went to college at Penn State, Yuengling was a kind of beer cult. People would simply order “lager” at a bar, as if Yuengling’s signature beer was the only lager that existed. A lot has changed since then, of course, with mega-mergers at Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and Molson Coors Brewing (TAP) and the boom in craft beers. Consider the Craft Brew Alliance (BREW) and Boston Beer (SAM), which are up 260% and 370%, respectively, in the last five years vs. a mere 65% gain for the Dow Jones in the same period.

But while Yuengling is private, you can bet it’s doing quite well.

Yuengling ice cream might sound crazy enough to become a hit. Certainly in Pennyslvania, where the 184-year-old brewer is located, this could catch on. And given the fact that Yuengling lager now has distributors in 14 states and the District of Columbia, it seems like the wind is at its back for any kind of brand expansion.

Whether investors can expect a Yuengling IPO is another story.

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Jeff Reeves is the editor of and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.

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