I don’t think that I ever have considered Rolling Rock to be one of my favorite beers. The history of my favorite beers has mostly been craft-brewed and imported beer. And before that, it was pretty much just anything I could get my hands on.
However, for most of my early (legal) drinking years, I spent my summers in Sea Isle City, NJ. The micro-brew revolution had just begun, but the impact of it’s battles were not felt in the remote reaches of alcohol distribution. When you went to a bar/club in town you had three choices for beer: Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Light.
That was pretty much it. When I was in the Ocean Drive, The Springfield Inn, or even Busch’s (where I worked), those were your choices. Now, today, Yuengling Lager is available (fairly cheaply) in every bar or restaurant in the Delaware Valley (ignore the ‘official map on Wikipedia, the South-East New Jersey region is unofficially included in the Delaware valley).
However, the Ocean Drive would have a few cases of Rolling Rock. And it had just a much cleaner, crisp taste. Especially when you had over 500 people crammed into the bar, a cold Rock was always a nice choice. And I always loved the look and the feel of the Rolling Rock painted bottles. And the beautiful, simplified, enigmatic, 33.
Hell, Rolling Rock had always been there. My grandmother (Madeleine Medd) would drink half-cans (8 oz) of Rolling Rock down the shore with a hoagie or other sandwich, when I was growing up.
So, I hadn’t been paying attention. I hadn’t really drank Rolling Rock in years. I liked it because it was anti-corporate. Apparently, it had been owned by a Belgium beer company for many years, before it was sold in May to Anheuser-Busch. And now, they are closing the brewery in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
I understand, that big chains are taking over small businesses. It’s the nature of commerce and industry in this country. I know that Rolling Rock probably couldn’t get their beer to small regional locations at the same price as their big competitors. But still. It just feels wrong to me.