Thursday, 15 September 2011

Blue Moon bullshit

Earlier today I saw a tweet from a local pub announcing that they now stock Blue Moon in bottles, with a photo to prove it.

I had a quick check and as far as I can tell the US label says “Belgian White Belgian-Style Wheat Ale” (which is horrific enough in its own way, but that’s a separate issue). As you can see, the UK label proclaims “North American Craft Beer”.

This labelling would of course provoke a shitstorm in the US, as there, unlike here, “craft beer” has a specific meaning closely watched over by the Brewers’ Association. Blue Moon, as one of the speciality brews of mammoth brewer Molson Coors (although they coyly prefer to promote it as ‘Blue Moon Brewing Company’), doesn’t qualify.

Blue Moon has become spectacularly successful in the US as a pseudo-“Belgian” product. Now, seemingly, the approach in the UK is to push it as a pseudo-American product. Over there the suggestible consumer gets the impression it’s from Belgium; over here it’s implied it comes from one of those little US craft breweries he’s heard about. I mean, doesn’t this stuff on the back label sound good:
“Blue Moon Brewing Company was born in 1995 in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., when we added unique and subtle twists to old-world, handcrafted brewing traditions. Since then, not much has changed. Still just a bunch of friends having fun making great beer.”
You can almost see the guys getting together on a Saturday to fire up a brew in the turkey fryer in the garage, can’t you? Poor sods probably have to stir the mash with a canoe paddle too.

You have to admire the sneakiness of this copywriting, which manages to slip in the feel-good words “handcrafted” and “traditions” without actually claiming those properties for the beer. Read the small print and learn it’s brewed in Canada, presumably at a Molson facility. So, apart from being brewed by different people in another country, no, not much has changed. Sure it hasn’t.

Blue Moon, disingenuous on both sides of the Atlantic.

+1 for Molson Coors on the Suckiness Index. Sorry folks.

13 comments:

  1. I've heard Kristy say it's not brewed in Canada and never was. What does the small print actually say?

    The tortuous wording in the US is 'cos they were sued by Belgium's brewers' union for calling it Belgian. I guess they forgot that the word doesn't just mean a brewing fashion but is an actual place with real people, some of whom are lawyers.

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  2. Yes, this is appalling. Didn't rate the beer much either.

    Have noted a couple of other breweries sneakily adding "craft" or "crafted" to their bumph, too.

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  3. The small print should be readable if you click on the picture. It says “Brewed by BMBC, Toronto, Canada”. Course, maybe that’s for tax reasons or something. Who can tell? Why do brewers have this instinct to obfuscate wherever possible?

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  4. Ah yes, Diageo pull that one all the time. It's brewed by the company at that address; but if you think the brewery is there, well, that's just you reading something that isn't on the label. The Catholic bishops of Ireland have popularised the term "mental reservation" for this practice.

    As to why, I'm sure the answer is in the branding specification document, in a paragraph which says "If people found out where this is actually brewed, we would make less money from it." It's just under the paragraph which says "If people found out what the ingredients are, we would make less money from it."

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  5. Thought Coors brewed it in Burton? Had it in New York. Dishwater.

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  6. I deliberately made no comment on the quality of the beer. I’ve only ever had a small taste of it once. I was hungover and it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. That's all I can say about it.

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  7. It's a bit better than Kronenbourg Blanc. (Do they still make that?)

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  8. We can thank Blue Moon for creating enough stir, that AB came up with Bud Light Golden Wheat, as well. That being said, Blue Moon is amazingly popular here, and I'd imagine a good few think Blue Moon Brewing Company has "invented" a great new beer style.

    Sorry Mr. Celis, they know not what they say.

    As far as taste, it honestly could be worse.

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  9. You should send this one to beerleaks.com

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  10. Blue Moon has been around here for a while. You're right, it's pitched in the US squarely at 'craft beer drinkers' with this faux craft branding.

    If you'd really wanted a laugh, you ought to have been at The Rake a few years back when MolsonCoors made a promo film aimed at informing their corporate bean-counters on whether to go for a full launch. Punters were screened by a PR for suitability to sit in front of a camera agreeing how great Blue Moon was, especially with a slice of orange (puh-leeeze - they even provided a crate of plastic oranges). Needless to say, in my AW 'security threat' tee shirt, I was right off the radar.
    The then-assistant manager of the Rake then had to do a piece to camera, all BS, with me behind the camera guy trying to corpse him. Happy days.

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  11. I quite like Blue Moon, but not enough to pay the extortionate prices for it. Kobe in Horsforth charge £5 per pint!

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  12. This is fucking amazing. The balls they must have to think they would somehow be able to pass off this blatant about-face in today's internet-ed world.

    Blue Moon the beer doesn't really taste too bad, but who could possibly give it a chance with this sort of disingenuousness behind it?

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  13. "it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting."

    I'm not sure if you're drinking the same Blue Moon I've drunk, but that exactly correct. It sells nearly two million barrels in the US, and they've shot for a flavor profile that's just below average--enough to lure drinkers from Bud Lite but appease those who otherwise brace for the worst. I sort of admire them for it.

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