When fans go to the bar or casino Jan. 11, the national championship football game will be on TV and Yuengling beer will be on tap.
Yuengling, made by the country's oldest brewery, makes its Mississippi debut that day across the state with three labels: Yuengling Light, Black and Tan and its flagship beer Amber Lager.
The timing of the launch isn't random. Mardi Gras comes early this year and Feb. 7 is both Super Bowl Sunday and Mardi Gras weekend.
"When we talked with the brewery we talked about how exciting January is down here," said Ann Magruder, vice president of Gulfport's Rex Distributing, the sole distributor of Yuengling in South Mississippi.
With this launch, Mississippi becomes the 18th state to have the beer, although many people are familiar with the brand and some have crossed state lines to bring it back for family and friends.
Loyal fans in Mississippi
"We've got a lot of loyal fans out there," said Yuengling's Tom Junod, who's been working for more than a year in Mississippi to prepare for the introduction.
"We have a strategy. We have a game plan," he said. The worst thing that could happen, he said, is to not have supply to meet the demand -- and demand is expected to be big.
"We have tons of people calling us all the time, for over a year, even from Louisiana," said Tiffany Butcher, owner of Smoke and Ale in Waveland. She's hung banners, and dedicated an entire section of her store to Yuengling, she said. Employees are excited and customers know it is coming.
South Mississippi is a very diverse area with tourists and
military personnel who know and enjoy Yuengling, said Ben Kaufman, owner of Irish Coast Pub in Gulfport.
"You have people asking for it daily," he said. "Excitement definitely has been building for a long time. Sales are obviously going to be huge."
Kaufman said Yuengling pairs well with any kind of pub food. He uses beer in his batter for fish and chips and in his soup bases.
"We're going to use Yuengling and see how it goes," he said.
Race to introduce beers
Since Mississippi's beer laws changed in 2012, it's become a race to get new beers on the shelves. In November, Mississippi Brewing introduced its third brand of beer, Red Headed Step Child, and Oskar Blues Brewery launched its beer in Mississippi.
"There's just been a turnout of so many brands," Kaufman said, and the area has five local breweries -- more than some major cities.
The difference is Yuengling is not a craft beer but an American domestic beer.
"Our price points are the same as a Miller, Bud or Coors," said Junod, who has worked with Yuengling for 25 years.
The beer will be shipped from the Yuengling plant in Pottsville, Pa., the oldest U.S. brewery, or its newer brewery in Tampa. The company toughed out the hard times during Prohibition, selling "near beer" and operating a dairy as a side business to survive.
German, not Chinese
Yuengling is pronounced "Ying-Ling," he said. "People who have never heard of us think we're a Chinese beer."
It's a German name that means "young man." Dick Yuengling, the fifth generation of the family that came from Germany and settled in Pennsylvania, owns the brewery and his four daughters all work with him.
"It's truly a family business," Junod said.
Launch parties are common when a new beer is introduced in a state. Many will offer promotions, let customers sample the product and "throw some Yuengling swag around," he said.
Beer lovers in South Mississippi will have several opportunities to try Yuengling starting Jan. 11. It will be showcased at the Pro Rodeo at the Coast Coliseum. Also, the Yuengling Brewery Experience will showcase the brewery's history and will be one of the new components at this year's Top of the Hops beer tasting, said Matt McDonnell, Coliseum executive director.
"It's taken since 1829 to get Yuengling here," Kaufman said.