Old, new come together at Durdach's beer tasting
PAXINOS - Two of the nation's three oldest family owned breweries were represented Friday afternoon at Durdach Bros. Inc.'s "Meet the Brewers" taste-testing event at its distributorship along Route 61.
Durdach's hosted the event, which featured 11 brewers - eight of them based in Pennsylvania - while it continues its year-long 75th anniversary celebration.
Pottsville's Yuengling, the nation's oldest family-owned brewery, founded in 1829, and Straub's, third oldest, founded in 1872 out of St. Mary's, Elk County, shared space with Magic Hat, Erie, Appalachian, Victory, Jack's Hard Cider, Dos Equis, Yards, Troegs and Blue Moon breweries. It provided an interesting mix of old and new, traditional and craft beer choices to sample.
Customers were treated to refreshments and giveaways as well, and the brewery representatives offered free bottle openers, beer coozies, key chains and T-shirts along with their sample suds.
Durdach CEO Rick Durdach was proud of the opportunity to host the brewers and the public.
"We thought it would be a nice gesture for our customers to have the opportunity to meet some of the brewers and taste some of the beers that they sell," he said.
It was the first time Durdach hosted a beer tasting event since 1997, shortly after the company's large retail warehouse opened across Route 61 from what is now the corporate headquarters.
Durdach is proud of the fact that his family is celebrating 75 years in business, and attributes the success to employees. He called them a tight-knit group.
"A company is only as good as the people that work for it," he said. "Our turnover is almost non-existent."
Matt and Caroline Lobos, of Elysburg, were out for lunch when they decided to stop at Durdach's to pick up a case of beer for the house. The couple are regular customers and were unaware that the "Meet the Brewers" event was taking place.
"It was a pleasant surprise and a nice way to spend the afternoon," Matt Lobos said after tasting a sample of Magic Hat #9.
One customer was seen leaving the store with a case of Yards Brawler Pugilist Style Ale not long after trying a sample, while another was seen exiting with a case of Straub American Lager that apparently hit the spot.
Durdach Bros. was started in Shamokin in 1938 by brothers Jake and John Durdach; the latter was Rick's father.
The business moved to Paxinos in 1967.
Durdach's has grown to employ 75 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. It serves more than 100 local distributors and more than 1,000 on-premises retail customers in 12 counties.