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Controversial Paterno Beer Cans Begin Rolling Off Assembly Line In Latrobe

LATROBE (KDKA) -- After weathering some controversy, a new beer started rolling off the assembly line Wednesday.

It's Duquesne Lager canned as the "409 Paterno Legacy" series, complete with pictures of the former Penn State coach.

In our neck of the woods, there is a certain career pinnacle you've reached when your likeness rolls off the assembly line on a beer can.

But in this case, the honoree has been embroiled in controversy for the last couple of years. Duquesne Brewing came under some criticism for doing it, but owner Mark Dudash says it was the right thing to do.

"Very successful, his career over 40 years, what he did at State College, what he did as a coach, what he believed in," said Dudash. "I just thought it was a natural."

Along with his likeness, Joe Paterno's now-restored record is embossed on the cans.

The late coach's wife, Sue, and son, Jay, were on hand to see the first cans come off the Duquesne Brewing line in Latrobe.

"It's fun, it was really an interesting moment when I walked in here and saw the cans," said Jay. "And, it's something that's going to be fun to be involved in, and hopefully, do some good with it."

Part of the proceeds from the beer will go to the Paterno family charities.

Jay Paterno says progress has been made towards restoring his dad's reputation, but his family is far from satisfied, and he knows some who will reject the beer because of the controversy.

"I don't blame them," he says. "They were fed a narrative that was not true by some people, and it's slowly coming around, and more and more people are starting to understand what really happened."

The royal blue and white feeling runs strong in this part of Pennsylvania, and you just know some of the cans are destined for unopened for sports memorabilia shelves, not to mention countless tailgating parties at Beaver Stadium.

They'll be canning as fast as they can over the next few days, and will ship on Friday, so it will be in Pittsburgh distributors by Monday. Then, we'll all see how well it sells.

Jay told "The KDKA Morning News" with Larry Richert and John Shumway in addition to benefiting charities, "It's going to create a lot of work for a lot of union workers (in Latrobe)."

Jay adds he is proud the brew will be brewed in Latrobe because it is his mother's hometown.

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