Rolling Rock

By Mike Hudson

As everyone knows, I do dearly enjoy a beer now and again. For the past two decades, my brew of choice has been Rolling Rock, a delightful extra-pale ale produced since 1939 in the “glass-lined tanks of old Latrobe.” That’s Latrobe, Pa., a quaint community nestled in the mountains about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh whose world fame and biggest industry, up until now, has been derived from the presence of the Rolling Rock Brewery.

Alas, no more. On Friday, the motherless corporate jackals that run Anheuser-Busch purchased Rolling Rock for $82 million. The historic brewery will be shuttered, and production will move to, of all places, New Jersey. No longer will this mildly alcoholic confection come “from the mountain springs to you.” No, it will come instead from a state where residents shun their own tap water. The Masonic “33” painted in white on each green longneck and stamped on the inside of the distinctive cardboard cases will be a thing of the past, as will 200 jobs in Latrobe.

And let us pity poor Latrobe. This proud city of 9,000, the birthplace of Arnold Palmer and Mr. Rogers, will likely never recover from this shocking example of unbridled corporate greed. This is the worst thing I’ve heard of since the Stroh’s Brewing Co. of Detroit was devoured by Adolph Coors 20 or more years ago. I quit drinking Stroh’s, the brew of my youth, lest any of my hard-earned beer money go to support the Coors family’s screwy right-wing causes.

Likewise, if I wanted to drink Budweiser, I’d have already been drinking Budweiser. Ask anyone who’s ever worked for Anheuser-Busch, and they’ll tell you that Bud, Busch and Michelob all come out of the same vats, anyway, and now so will my beloved Rolling Rock. In much the same way that Dodgers fans could no longer support the club after their dastardly move to Los Angeles, neither can I, in good conscience, continue to consume a barley-and-malt-based beverage knowing that my continued fealty would serve only to line the corporate coffers in St. Louis. So somebody throw me a bone here. Is there not a relatively inexpensive, independently produced beer I can now embrace?

my beer of choice on my last visit home was sammy adams, but i couldn’t resist buying a few 12’ers of Rolling Rock (@$8.88) I probably bought $82 million worth of RR in my college days… If you do a search on google news there are more links to this story.

A damn, no…a crying, shame.
Rolling Rock was a consistent slightly above average beer.
Cold Rocks on a hot day were a thing of much delight.
Change is inevitable, but we’re talking beer and history here.
By the way, I don’t think that “33” had anything at all to do with the Masons. That “33” has been a thing of discussion and rumor since I first saw it…many many years ago.
“From the glass-lined tanks of Old Latrobe”…beer at its locally made finest.

I have never been an A-B fan, and my distaste of their corporate mentality and their piss-water beer even increasing with this sad news.
Fuck A-B…

My home is not far from Latrobe, and I did my undergraduate work at St. Vincent College in Latrobe (that’s where the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers hold summer camp, btw). I once wrote an article for our student newspaper and explained that the “33” was simply a printer’s note to himself… reminding him of the number of letters on the label. He’d jotted it down and the guy who set the print mistakenly believed it was part of the label. It served as a good gimmick for RR for many years.

I don’t care much for RR now. But, I sure did enjoy lots of RR in my youth (or, as HGC would say, “yoof”) back before the microbrewing storm swept across the US. RR was a nice enough hot-summer-day-BBQ-in-the-back-yard beer, especially when there was really no choices other than very bad stupp produced by the biggies, like A-B…

A-B sucks.

Brewed in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania:

If you liked RR, you’ll like Straub.