Beer Geeks flip Blue Moon a lot of shit because Coors is really behind the whole thing. But you gotta admire what Coors/Blue Moon has been able to do. They’ve resisted the temptation to blow the whole thing with an obnoxious TV campaign while focusing on keeping the brand authentic.
This past New Year’s Eve presented the Blue Moon team with an interesting marketing opportunity: Dec 31, 2009 was a BLUE MOON – meaning that it was the 2nd Full Moon of the month. The marketing team smartly took advantage of this situation by releasing a limited edition Blue Moon Grand Cru in 750ml bottles. They retailed for $11.99 (at least that’s how much I bought mine for) and featured a little bit more upscale packaging via a PSL (pressure sensitive label) and sticker over the bottle cap.
This limited edition should do few things for the brand:
1. It helped Blue Moon gain a little more credibility with the Beer Geeks that might think of them as a lower-class brewer.
2. Capitalized on a key celebration and Craft Beer drinking occasion.
3. Facilitated word-of-mouth – think of all those conversations that happened when people showed up to their NYE party with one of these in their hands.
I love how Blue Moon did this. My only criticism is that the product seemed to arrive in stores a little late and retailers didn’t have much of a chance to merchandise it.
As far as the beer goes – the taste profile was very similar to Blue Moon. I looks like they wanted to stay in the Belgian White family stylistically, but I would have liked to see them experiment a little more. The Grand Cru is a higher ABV than regular Blue Moon at 8.2% ABV and it seemed to have more of a spicy character, but it was little too conservative considering that it cost $12/bottle. Maybe they could have experimented with some additional spices for this beer rather than the Orange Peel and Coriander that is also used in brewing regular Blue Moon?
Overall, I like this concept, but I worry that it may backfire on the objective of building credibility with the beer geeks. If you’re going to go for it and do something unique, then REALLY go for it. When Porsche comes out with a limited edition Boxster, they don’t put the same engine in it, do they?