When Covaleski co-founded Victory with Ron Barchet in 1996, the local Pennsylvania consumer already was historically more receptive to the lager style.
"Pennsylvania is unique. The Yuengling Brewery roared back from Prohibition, and we have places like Stoudts Brewery and Iron City Beer," he said. "We have always had a lot of lager breweries. I think the folks that live here have stubbornly held onto the value of lager beer."
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Still, when Victory announced Prima Pils would be one of its first beers to be released in bottles, it was initially viewed with skepticism by many wholesalers and distributors, but the beer was met with wide acclaim and is now one of Victory's best-selling beers.
"It was highly hopped compared to what people had become accustomed to as a pilsner, so there was a part of it that appealed to the craft beer drinker with that hoppy aggressive edge, but there was also a refinement to it," he said. "I feel like it was encouragement for other craft brewers to take a look at pilsners, and reinvent them with us."