Since its introduction in 1995 Blue Moon Belgian White has steadily grown in popularity, becoming one of the most popular Belgian style beers in America. Despite its popularity the beer also has many detractors who are weary of its corporate ownership and misleading labels.
Many don’t realize that although it says “Blue Moon Brewing Company” on the label, Blue Moon is actually made by Molson Coors, one of the biggest beer companies in the world. Because of this there are many in the craft beer community who are apprehensive about the beer’s popularity. They see it as an attempt by corporate America to infiltrate the craft beer scene under false pretenses and steal the profits from small, independently owned breweries. They fear that big beer corporations like Molson Coors might one day even be able to drive these small craft breweries out of business thanks to their size and strength from a business stand point, forever damaging the craft beer scene.
At the same time there are many who see the surprising popularity of Blue Moon as nothing but a good thing. Thanks to the massive reach and distribution channels of Molson Coors, Blue Moon is available throughout the US and has introduced countless casual beer drinkers to a Belgian style beer who might otherwise have never tried anything but light lagers like Coors and Budweiser. As a result many more are taking an interest in quality craft beer, helping the craft beer movement a great deal. These folks argue that a beer should be judged on taste, not who brews it, and to do otherwise is nothing but petty snobbery.
Personally I have mixed feelings on the beer. While I too am suspicious of a big corporation like Molson Coors, there is no question it has helped spark an interest in craft beer among many who previously couldn’t have cared less. When people new to craft beer ask me to recommend something for them the number one comment I hear is “I like Blue Moon, what else should I drink?” I usually tell these folks to give other Belgian whites a try. Hoegaarden is perhaps the second most popular in the US of this style. While the Hoegaarden Brewery has been around since the 15th century, it’s currently owned by Anheisher-Busch, which makes it similar to Blue Moon’s current ownership status. Hoegaarden’s corporate ties aren’t as well known as the Coors/Blue Moon connection so it tends to elicit less of a reaction among craft beer enthusiasts.
What do you think of Blue Moon? Has it helped or hurt the craft beer movement? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter.