The number of microbreweries in the United States has exploded over the last 15 years. There has been some speculation about the effect microbreweries will have on companies like Blue Moon. Each type of beer manufacturer has its special standing in the industry. While there are significant differences in the company sizes and product selections available, Blue Moon beer is still unique within the sea of microbreweries.
Blue Moon Brewing Company calls Denver, Colorado home. The company celebrated its 20th anniversary on July 31, 2015. The party happened under the lunar event also known as a blue moon. This lunar event occurs when there are two full moons in one month.
According to the report from Denver’s 9 News, the anniversary party had 750 different celebrations around the nation. At 10 p.m., Mountain Daylight Savings Time (MDT) all the national participants toasted the birthday with the brewery’s beer. The party in Denver was held at Coors Field and featured a live band. The brewing company also created a “20th Anniversary Ale.” The anniversary ale was available for tasting at select party locations around the nation.
Microbreweries are also known as American Craft Brewers. They are “small, independent and traditional” according to the Brewers Association. The term small refers to the production of no more than 6,000 barrels of the beer annually. An independent brewer is not owned by an alcoholic beverage company. The standard is that 75 percent of the craft brewers must be independently owned. Being traditional is all about the values of true beer making. The brewers create their beverage using ingredients and fermentation processes that are standard in beer making. The association further states that “Flavored Malt Beverages (FMB) are not considered beer.”
The fact that Blue Moon Brewing Co. claims it brews “craft beers with a twist” has caused some controversy. The complaints include the fact that Blue Moon is a MillerCoors (beer) subsidiary, yet, the brewing company does not include this information on the labels. As a result, it appears the company is asserting itself as a craft brewer which is independent. This is contrary to the description the Brewers Association gives for the definition of a true American Craft Brewer. MillerCoors a multinational corporation, but its subsidiary, Blue Moon uses bottles that are very similar to the independent craft beer bottles that are deceiving the consumer.
Blue Moon Beer’s uniqueness within the sea of microbreweries is based on their appearance of being a craft brewer. The tagline describing their beer on the company’s website is, “Blue Moon Belgian White Belgian-Style and Inviting Craft Beer With a Welcoming Twist.” They brew wheat ale and offer these “Seasonal Ales, First Peach Ale, Summer Honey Ale, Harvest Pumpkin Ale and Mountain Abbey Ale.” All of the labels appear to be hand painted and created by a smaller company.
When looking up the differences between beer, lager and ale, the dictionary defined beer as a fermented alcoholic beverage brewed from malt and usually flavored with hops. In the thesaurus, beer is synonymous with lager and ale. According to Popular Science magazine, the difference between lager and ale according to average beer consumers is the appearance, how it tastes and smells. The same consumers claim ales tend to “be fruity” as opposed to lagers that are described as “clean-tasting and crisp.” However, the magazine says the actual difference is the fermentation process. Based on the previously stated definitions and the fact that the Brewers Association states that FMB are not considered beer, disqualifies Blue Moon’s assertion of being a craft brewer.
The Brewers Association offers the following statistics about the number of Craft Breweries, between 1999 and 2012 the number increased from 1,564 to 2,033. Based on the earliest available data the highest number of breweries was in 1876 with a total of 2,685 brewers, whereas, the lowest number was in 1973 with only 122 registered brewers. Therefore, there has been an explosion of small, independent beer makers. Blue Moon Brewing Co. is not included in this number as they do not fit the actual definition of being a manufacturer of Craft Beer.
According to Business Insider, due to the increase of Craft Beer Breweries consumers are flocking to buy the brew in record numbers. craft breweries and their popularity have caused an overall decrease of 0.9 percent in corporate beer sales during 2012. MillerCoors and other large beer corporations have jumped on the bandwagon to attempt to secure their position with beer consumers. The result is Blue Moon beer struggling to hold a unique position in the sea of microbreweries. While this is controversial, there are some craft brewers who think the presence of Blue Moon is a good thing. The belief is since the drinkers have experienced the beverages Blue Moon offers, consumers are now more interested in trying true craft brews.
By Cathy Milne
9News: Blue Moon celebrates 20th birthday on actual blue moon
Business Insider: The Craft Beer Market Has Exploded, And Now Brewers Are Worried About A Collapse
Brewers Association: Number of Breweries
Brewers Association: Craft Brewer Defined
Popular Science: Beersci: What Is the Difference Between A Lager And An Ale?
Featured Photo Courtesy of Hans’ Pixabay Page – CC0 Public Domain License
Inset Photo Courtesy of SvenKirsch’s Pixabay Page – CC0 Public Domain License