Defending Blue Moon
by Karen Palankie.
I hope no one, especially you Bob, takes me to task for saying this but
I like Blue Moon. Please don't tell me the heritage of the beer, I already
know. It's owned by MillerCoors which in turn is 50% owned by mass-
market producer Molson Coors Brewing, with the rest held by London-
based SABMiller, the world’s No. 2 volume brewer. Blue Moon is the
centerpiece of MillerCoors’s Tenth & Blake Beer, an operating unit that
was totally created for only one reason - to capitalize on the rapid
growth of craft and import brews and to help offset slowing sales of
I love craft beer and strongly support the empowering of the
consumer with the ability to understand who is really making their
beer. Every beer fan should be educated and informed so they can
make a decision on who to support with their hard-earned dollars. And
by whom I mean, the beer, and only the specific beer.
Many knowledgeable beer aficionados long ago dubbed Blue Moon an
impostor cooked up by a megabrewer to exploit the explosive growth
of artisanal beer. In fact many now call beers like t Blue Moon “crafty”
for not spelling out their corporate parentage, which is unfortunately
true but doesn't say anything about the beer.
In defense of Blue Moon on that issue, at least from a business
standpoint (and beer is a business), there is zero advantage of letting
people know that it’s made by MillerCoors. The risk is the beer-snob
factor - some people would categorically dismiss it without a single sip if
they knew it's ownership. So, if there is no upside from doing it, then
why take the risk?
The craft Brewers' Association joined the anti- Blue Moon chorus when
they redefined the term "craft brewer" to mean anyone who produces
fewer than 6 million barrels a year—it used to be 2 million until Samuel
Adams maker Boston Beer got too big to qualify. Right, if your biggest
member doesn't fit the definition just change the definition. The
Association also said a craft brewery must be less than 25% owned by
a megabrewer and meet certain ingredient thresholds.
Why the fear? Well micro breweries have reason to be defensive: Blue
Moon has grabbed 15% of the U.S. craft market, expanded as far as
Japan and spawned an Anheuser-Busch InBev knockoff called Shock
Top, which is definitely not, in my opinion, very good.
For me, Blue Moon is, in its own way, an authentic craft brew, and by
the way, has been around longer than most craft beers on the market
today. So maybe they're due a little respect. It's based on a Belgian
witbier, brewed with wheat and spiced with coriander and orange. It’s
a solid representation of the style, and an approachable one for all beer
drinkers. And it's superior to many "official" craft brewed wits. Just
because the brewery is small doesn't mean the beer is necessarily good.
No snobbery needed.
Blue Moon is currently adding more artisanal brews, including a wine
hybrid. Their marketing has begun to emphasize the beer’s
provenance and Belgian-trained brewmaster. There's no doubt the
beer has been instrumental in recruiting consumers into craft beers,
especially Belgian white. What's not to like about any of that?
Many Blue Moon drinkers don’t care where the product comes from so
long as it tastes good. Is it the best wit out there? No, not by a long,
long shot. But sometimes it's just what I'm in the mood for. And by
the way, The Brothers at BeerAdvocate rate it "very good" so maybye
I'm not as alone as I thought.
Thanks to Bob and his readers for listening. And thanks to BeerNexus
for letting an average reader like me publish her view. T
Many thanks to Karen for this month's article. It's the first one of it's
kind we've ever received. I respect and we appreciate your viewpoint.
Please remember I encourage all my readers to send me their articles
and just maybe you'll see yours in print just like Karen!
|BeerNexus proudly presents
"the ombudsman of beer"
Bob and Friends Speak of Beer......
|Want to be a "friend of Bob" and write a guest
column? Just e-mail your article to Bob HERE.