@Yuengling_Beer: A Social Media Audit

This semester I was given the opportunity to combine my passion for social media with my love for one of Philadelphia’s Phinest, Yuengling Lager. The assignment was to choose an industry, choose a brand and identify it’s top two competitors. For four months, my teammates and I tracked the social activity of the Beer industry. We looked at Budweiser and Corona but focused mainly on D.G Yuengling and Son’s; America’s oldest brewery.

Yuengling
Here’ to you, Philly!

I had never heard of Yuengling before coming to Philadelphia (I mean, before my 21st birthday…). In fact, I couldn’t even get the spelling right until just a few days ago upon completion of this assignment. Since becoming ‘of-age’ last August, I’ve found that I don’t particularly care for beer…unless it’s Yuengling. Brewed and bottled in Potsville, PA since 1829, there’s just something about Yuengling that my taste-buds crave. Perhaps it’s the flavor of home in every sip, or the historic story behind every label. Or maybe it’s because at 6:30 on a Friday night in September, I raised my green bottle in a poorly lit tavern on Samson St. for the 2nd annual “Philadelphia PhillyWide Lager Toast”. Joined by hundreds of Philadelphians, in over 250 bars across the city and suburbs on National Drink Beer Day, I tuned into Comcast SportsNet to watch a special ‘thank you’ from 5th generation president, Dick Yuengling, as he himself raised his Lager in a toast to Philly.

“Ever since my great-great grandfather brewed our first bottle of beer in 1829, Philadelphians have been supporting us and pushing us to grow,” said Yuengling. “The truth is, without Philadelphia, we simply would not be where we are today. The city has truly shown our family business brotherly love, and we’d like to raise a glass to that. Now that we’re the largest American-owned brewery, it’s time we say thanks in the most appropriate way – with a Lager on us.”

These words sum up my love for Yuengling (and Philly) pretty well. And now that I can drink Yuengling Traditional Lager in Boston? All the more reason to make my big move!

Blogger with Lager
Blogger w/ a Lager

In addition to bottling some of the best Lager on the East coast, Yuengling’s social media activity is pretty phenomenal as well. They’re active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeInstagram and Google+. Most impressive? Their incorporation of user-generated content on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. By reposting images and quotes from their fans, Yuengling is establishing a community of beer-lovers as well as providing a space for conversation and interaction. They do a great job of responding to questions and tweets (they even responded to my tweet earlier today!) and advertising their products in a way that’s personal, tasteful and captivating. Posting behind-the-scenes images from inside the brewery on Instagram or uploading videos to YouTube of the bottling process of Yuengling’s seasonal Summer Wheat Lager, Yuengling provides an exclusive view of their product which provokes excitement and enhances engagement. Using social media, Yuengling tells a story. One filled with pride, tradition and good taste. Yuengling is very much a humanized brand, which is great quality to have in today’s digital world.

Take a look at our final presentation below. (Lacking our notes of course, but you’ll get the idea.)

Yuengling Social Media Audit

Cheers! (and TGIF!)

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Anne, Party of 1 (or more)

I could eat every meal by myself and be happy as a clam – as long as it’s a good meal. In the morning when my roommates are asleep, working out or already in class I enjoy my coffee and egg and cheese sandwich at the kitchen table or on the sun porch, solo. I catch up on the news, watch the viral videos everyone has been talking about, plan my dinner (and usually my lunch), or sometimes I just do nothing, in silence. During May and June, when my mom is still making up for snow days in her Kindergarten classroom, and I’m alone on Cape Cod, I live well and I eat well. I experiment with new recipes, create my own personal pizzas, grill portobello mushrooms and turkey burgers, all with a serving size of one. Cooking (and eating) is time I enjoy spending in the company of me, myself and I, but certainly not all the time.

Food has the power to bring people together. Aside from taste and smell, that may very well be one of my favorite things about it.

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My grandfather celebrating his 90th birthday at Sunday Dinner with all nine (and one more on the way!) great-grandchildren!

On Sunday nights in CT, my entire family comes together for Sunday Dinner. My grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, their husbands and wives and children (lots of small children), everyone, shares dinner around a big dining room table, or wherever they can find a seat. Held at a different house each week, sometimes its a few large pizzas, other times it’s a home cooked meal. Whoever can come, comes. Most weeks, it’s a full house. There’s always something to talk about, something to celebrate or big news to share and there’s always plenty of food.

Back at school in Philadelphia, a similar tradition happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays. From 10:45 to 12:30 the university recognizes something called Free Period, a time when no classes are held and students are encouraged  to meet with professors, work on group projects, and catch up on school work. But for most, Free Period is a time to eat lunch and catch up with friends, for me in particular, with my sisters in Alpha Gamma Delta. At a big long table in the Campion Student Center 40 of my closest friends happily squish side-by-side , sharing seats and french fries. Some stay at the table for 2 hours, others for 20 minutes, some just stop by to say hello. It’s not the food in particular that draws us all to the table (trust me, I don’t think I’m speaking for myself when I say I can live without SJU’s infamous Hawk Wrap twice a week) but it’s the necessity of lunch time. We all need lunch before 12:30 classes begin again, so why not eat your mediocre wrap while surrounded by great company?

In keeping with the theme of meals shared by many, I recently crossed another restaurant off my Manayunk Bucket List, Hikaru. One step closer to eating my way down Main Street. While enjoying a glass of wine and sitting around a sizzling hibachi table, I caught up with my Alpha Gamma Delta ‘family’, my Little, Little Little and Little Little Little (for those unfamiliar with Greek Life families, save yourself the headache. It’s just a group of ‘sisters’). We try to get together a few times each semester for something we call ‘Family Dinner’. Sometimes there’s just three of us that can make it, and sometimes we make a reservation for 12. Regardless of how many of us can make it or where we decide to go, whether it’s a restaurant on campus, on Main Street or in the city, it’s something we do to catch up with each other, check in, and simply enjoy each other’s company, all while sharing a plate of nachos or catching a piece of shrimp from the Hibachi chef.

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Good food, great margs and an even better friend

I have my friends to thank for much of my progress on the Manayunk Bucket List. With my friend Kate, I weaved through crowds of people waiting in lines behind food trucks during last weekend’s 4th annual Manayunk StrEAT Festival. Together we checked out menus from Mama’s Meatballs, Mac Mart Cart, Vernalicious and Oink and Moo BBQ. We walked up and down, up and down Main Street struggling to make a decision. As our stomachs grumbled louder and louder, it was a time to make a decision. Not interested (and now too hungry) to wait in any line, and considering our love for margaritas we decided on Taqueria Feliz, a new restaurant on Main Street with an awesome authentic-mexican menu (and a phenomenal Feliz Margarita!). Sitting by large window we watched the crowds of people pass by, carrying babies and walking dogs, munching on tater tots or cupcakes. We sat inside looking out onto Main Street, Margaritas in hand, devouring chips and salsa, enjoying each other’s company.

(Side note: I later ventured back out onto Main Street with my boyfriend to wait in endless lines and eat pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches and loaded mac and cheese from various food trucks.)

So while I certainly enjoy spending a little quality time with myself while eating breakfast or whipping something up for dinner, I’m also very thankful to have such wonderful friends, a family who likes to eat just as much as I do, and a boyfriend who (although sometimes reluctantly) agrees to try new restaurants just for the sake of the Manayunk Bucket List. Not every meal should be eaten alone, not every meal should be crowded and hectic. It’s a healthy balance that keeps us sane, independence and codependence, being okay with being alone, and having great friends to join you when the meal is just too big for one.

 

DIY Shaken Passion Iced Tea Lemonade…or whatever it’s called

Did you know: A venti Shaken Iced Passion Tea Lemonade from Starbucks contains SIX PUMPS of sugary syrup? This drink, although delicious, not only contains a ridiculous amount of syrupy-sweet goo,  but it’s also a cluster of words that never seem to leave my mouth in the correct order. When face-to-face with the seasoned barista, black crayon in hand, waiting impatiently for me to spit out my order sometime before the end of her shift, I just can’t ever seem to get it right. To avoid this all-too-familiar situation and save some money, shake up your own passion fruit beverage at home.

But first, a brief story…

Eastham, Massachusetts, the little town I love so much, is home to many beaches, a few mediocre restaurants (many of which have been crossed off the Lagasse’s infamous ‘list’), one phenomenal coffee shop and deli, one miniature golf course, one general store and one Dunkin’ Donuts.

The majority of my early summer days, before babysitting gigs start rolling in and beach parking lots become flooded with families of 6, are spent traveling from my bedroom to my green striped lounge chair on the deck. If the late-May sun is shining a little brighter and feels a little warmer than usual, I’ll take a little drive down to First Encounter Beach to my secret spot in the dunes (not so secret once those families of 6 arrive). During those early summer days I don’t need very much and I don’t travel very far.

But of course, everyone needs a little pick-me-up now and then. The Dunkin’ down the street is perfect for a mid-afternoon medium iced coffee with milk but sometimes that just doesn’t quite cut it.  And here’s where the homemade Shaken Passion Iced Tea Lemonade comes in.

Rather than traveling to the closest Starbucks, an entire 17 minutes away, a few times a week, I (very, very easily) figured out a way to make the pink drink at home. One box of passion fruit tea (any brand will do, but Starbucks uses Tazo), one carton of Lemonade (Newman’s Own is my favorite, a tangy-sweet, organic mixture), a little ice and a cup with a lid is all you need.IMG_8525

Part 1: The ‘Tea’

  • Boil water in the biggest pot available
  • Remove from stove and add roughly 8-10 bags of passion fruit tea
  • Let cool for at LEAST 2 hours, store in fridge if possible

Part 2: The ‘Lemonade’

  • Pour cold tea into a Venti, Grande or Tall container with a lid, however much you plan on drinking
  • Add lemonade for sweetness, a lot or little depending on how sweet you like it (no sugary-syrup necessary!)

Part 3: The ‘Shaken’ and The ‘Iced’

  • Shake passion tea-lemonade mixture until frothy
  • Pour into tumbler (or glass) over ice, head outside to the green-striped lounge chair on the deck, and enjoy!

 

 

I Love You, Pretzels

Screen shot 2014-04-19 at 11.34.19 PMThere’s a cure for everything and it’s about 2 inches wide, freckled with salt and twisted into a imperfect knot. Call me crazy, but a handful of pretzels will fix any and every problem. Stomach ache? A bag of pretzels is the first place I look for comfort. Headache? Pretzels. Going on a road trip? I won’t leave the house without my Ziplock bag full of pretzels.

My dad eats a handful of pretzels right before he goes to bed every night. It’s part of his routine. So much so that my mom bought an extra cookie jar used specifically and only for mine and my dads favorite pretzels, the kind that come in the clear bag with the yellow label. They have just enough salt and the prefect amount of crunch. If some are slightly burned around the edges, that’s even better. Now, when I return home for winter break or summer vacation that cookie jar filled to the top with pretzels in preparation of my homecoming, is my favorite sight to see. Home sweet (or salty) home.

It’s no mistake then that I landed in Philadelphia, home of the soft pretzel. You have to understand my only encounters with soft pretzels prior to moving to Philadelphia came from the frozen aisle of the grocery store or the snack shack at the baseball field. I had never craved a soft pretzel nor had I ever particularly enjoyed their doughy, sometimes soggy texture. This, as I later found out, was mainly because I had never tasted a just baked, soft pretzel, warm out of the oven made in the City of Brotherly Love.

My first Philadelphia pretzel experience came from Wawa during one of my very first visits to St. Joe’s. To this day, Wawa’s soft pretzels are by far my favorite, especially if it’s after 10:30pm when the freshest batch gets delivered to the closest Wawa, still soft and warm from the bakery (I like to think so anyway). My boyfriend, a Philadelphia native, thinks I’m crazy. In his eyes, Wawa’s pretzels are at the bottom of the food chain.

My next few encounters with Philadelphia soft pretzels happened during just about every single event, program, info session, lunch period, etc. during my first year at St. Joseph’s. Around every corner, on top every table sat a huge box of soft pretzels from the Philadelphia Pretzel Factory. They were free, they were salty, and they were seemingly endless. It didn’t get much better than that. I thought college was the greatest place on earth.

And so, my love for pretzels grew. I’ve scoured the city for the best of the best and I’ve come up with quite a few soft contenders but none that beat the original. The kind that comes in the clear bag with the yellow label. The kind that fills the cookie jar in the kitchen. The kind that sometimes spills from my sweatshirt pockets. My favorite kind. The one that solves any problem and gives my dad that familiar pretzel-breath when he comes in each night to say goodnight. I love you, pretzels.