For whatever reason, Blue Moon wheat beer–brewed by MillerCoors–is one of the hottest-selling “craft” brews by a major bottler, but Anheuser-Busch is angling to cut in on that growth with its new Bud Light Golden Wheat. Only two months after its debut, the new wheat beer has nearly matched Blue Moon’s monthly sales.
Higher-priced craft beers yield bigger profits. Since the big bottlers have been stagnant in “growth” they have been moving into the craft market where sales are rising.
Blue Moon was launched in 1995, and has established itself in the public’s eye as a craft beer (it doesn’t suck, but I don’t really care for it). Most people don’t realize they are drinking a MillerCoors beer… until I tell them. This includes that d-bag that I sat next too in a restaurant one night who extolled much false information about beer (and everything else) to his first date. No, I wasn’t cock-blocking, just setting the record straight… Blue Moon does not come from Belgium, it is a Belgian-style beer. The beer’s label, which calls home the “Blue Moon Brewing Company” is marketing-speak for “Molson Coors Brewing Company.”
So when I first read the story on Chicago Business–the impetus for my post– I had reservations about the fact they were calling BL Golden Wheat and Blue Moon craft beers. But a bit into the read, I found that even though Belgian owned Anheuser-Busch could call Bud Light Golden Wheat a Belgian-style craft, they prefer to call it a “more flavorful light beer.” Which is good, because that’s probably what it is.
In fact, it seems that Shock Top, which is brewed under the Michelob branding arm of Anheuser-Busch–AND marketed as a Belgian White–would be in more direct competition to Blue Moon. But I guess it hasn’t gotten the foothold they want–so BLING, make a new beer… with Drinkability®©™ of course.
Snapping your fingers and making a new beer to compete in a category is probably pretty easy for Big Beer. Look at the sub-light beer war going on. A-B started the whole thing with Michelob Ultra… now we have beers like MGD 64 and Select 55. We’re not a rumor-based website, but I heard that Coors is working on a competing beer called “Coors Zero” that tastes EXACTLY like Coors Light. The reason you haven’t seen it on shelves yet is because the laws of physics don’t allow them to add more than 12 oz of water to a 12 oz bottle. Zing.
But really… if you want to drink something that tastes like a craft beer, why don’t you actually drink a craft beer? There are HUNDREDS of small breweries–probably some right in your home town–that employ neighbors, create local pride, and oh, brew beer. Try one of their beers the next time you see Bud Light Golden Wheat on the shelves.