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MillerCoors is missing the mark

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Yesterday, while wasting a perfectly good Sunday watching football, I noticed the same commercial popping up over and over again. Picture a hypothetical sports bar, with beautiful people cheering because all of their favorite football teams are winning. Cut to another equally bizarre reality and you see a duo of mountain climbers trekking up icy cliffs with a few bottles of Coors Light in tow. At the summit, they reach a magical portal, which transports them directly into the bar. They hand the bottles off to a waitress, who orders them to go get two more. Back into the fray they go.

My first thought: Slowest bar service ever.

My second thought: Why doesn’t MillerCoors advertise some of the finer points of their company?

It’s hard to deny the idea that the global company is having a bit of a moment right now, specifically with its more craft-friendly (and downright craft) brands. Last week, Slate ran a post spotlighting a recent poll that Blowfish, a hangover cure company, and AMP conducted, which asked drinkers to pick their preferred beer brand. The result? Blue Moon. Blue Moon everywhere. If Blue Moon Belgian White, a witbier, is trending up, wouldn’t it be safe to assume these same consumers might also enjoy a bottle of Golden Knot? Oh that’s right, they don’t know Golden Knot exists.

Golden Knot, a witbier brewed with Chardonnay grapes, just won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. Like the flagship Blue Moon Belgian White, it’s brewed by Blue Moon Brewing Co., a division of MillerCoors. It’s also available now at your local bottle shop.

Despite its global conglomerate appearance and love affair with big budget TV adverts (seriously, read this post about shooting that mountain climbing commercial), MillerCoors releases some stellar beer within its divisions. Blue Moon Brewing’s taken home a number of GABF medals in specialty categories over the years. So has AC Golden Brewing, recently for trendy craft styles like India pale lager and barrel-aged imperial stout. Then there’s The SandLot, based inside Denver’s Coors Field, which won the Large Brewing Company of the Year award, two gold medals and one bronze at this year’s GABF. But MillerCoors would rather try to sell you on the idea of an ice-cold, mountain-brewed lager, and to a much lesser degree, a witbier.

I recently had the pleasure of touring the Anheuser-Busch facility in St. Louis, and the absolute highlight was walking through its R&D pilot brewery. Later that day, I tasted a few samples of incredibly inventive beer, like a pretzel beer (yep, tasted just like a chocolate pretzel). The saddest aspect of the experience was the fact that these beers never see the light of day—at most, they might appear on tap at some obscure festival. The market result of AB-InBev’s experimentation usually ends up tasting something like Budweiser, like Budweiser Black Crown. MillerCoors, on the other hand, doesn’t seem timid about releasing creative beers. But telling you about them? That’s a different story.

I don’t know why there aren’t more TV commercials for Blue Moon Belgian White, or any at all for Blue Moon Golden Knot or Crimson Crossing (a wit brewed with merlot grapes), during NFL commercial breaks. There’s no doubt the company has the resources.

I’m not advocating for or against a new MillerCoors campaign touting its success in the craft beer realm. But, as I’m stretched out on the couch on Sundays, thinking about what new beer I might want to try as another extreme Coors Light commercial plays, I do know one thing: I simply don’t get it.

 

Author
Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.

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11 Comments

  • E. Fecher says:

    There *are* no “finer points” of the big 3 breweries. They make a crappy product geared at cheap, mass drinkers. They use their size to buy out or muscle out the smaller brewers, use “crafty” brands to dupe quality beer drinkers into drinking their product and now apparently they mis-label their products, and say Beck’s beer sold in the US is brewed in Germany, when in fact they brew it here using water from St Louis! Hilarious that Bud cannot be sold in Italy anymore legally.

  • CJ says:

    Screw InBev, MillerCoors. Screw all CRAFTY Macro Beers. Support Local, Regional, Micro, CRAFT Beer. Their beer wins as many awards, if not more.. than MillerCoors Crafty Beers. This also benefits small businesses in your own backyard.. not faceless, Macro Corps trying to squash the Micro, Craft Beer Market.
    No Thanks.

  • Jim Brunet says:

    Actually, you are advocating for Miller-Coors and for Anheuser Busch too. When Miller-Coors spends more ad time on pushing the wonders of packaging and delivery of their beer (cold notification labels, vortex bottlenecks, new bottle designs, etc.) as opposed to the product itself, beer, that speaks volumes. And the reason they don’t push craft beer is because #1; profits from their cheap to produce mainstream products (I cannot bring myself to call it beer)are through the roof and #2; you cannot call it “craft” beer if it’s mass-produced. You lose a lot in that changeover from, let’s say, what was once a craft beer or even imports. Some examples would be Blue Moon, Beck’s, Lowenbrau, Heineken, Killians, Fosters,etc. I used to drink and enjoy all of these so-called beers. Now I can’t stomach them because they are obviously nowhere near their original recipes. I’d add more but it’s now happy hour and you’re cutting into my opportunity to drink a real craft/microbrew.

  • Jim Brunet says:

    Oh, and shame on you shilling for them, how much did they pay you for the not so well disguised ad/puff piece?

  • D.Ferguson says:

    Keep Macro-crap breweries out of the craft beer game. They don’t belong, and they never belonged. All they’re doing is diminishing and giving false report of the spirit & ingenuity of the craft beer world. Why would anyone drink a Blue Moon when there are astronomically better examples of Belgian-Style Whites?

    And who cares about GABF? The festival is just a laughing stock at this point. Any beer festival that will give a gold medal to Natural Ice for the “American Cream Ale” category clearly shows its hand in who really controls them… BIG BEER!

  • Kevin says:

    It’s because they don’t want people to know Blue Moon is one of their products (it’s crafty, not craft). Most people who drink it think it’s a microbrew.

  • P Talbert says:

    It is possible that the big three MIGHT make a drinkable beer, but why drink it. I spend my money at the craft brewer, and support my local economy. The big three’s beer will always be too cold, “fresh and born on”, and soulless. They will continue to attempt to stifle the movement, and I’m not going to help them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brew_Masters

  • Jeff Goodby says:

    Oh, feel the wrath of the mighty beer nerds, getting their panties in a bunch about the big breweries! Seriously, folks, get a life. Drink what you like–craft or mega.

  • Jim Brunet says:

    article from Beer Pulse, there’s a link to The Business Journal for the full original article. All I gleaned from it was “reduce costs” What they say are their reasons are just excuses to me.
    http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2013/10/21/millercoors-cutting-27-salaried.html?ana=twt

  • Jake says:

    These comments are laughably immature and ignorant. It’s 2013, time to stop reflexively hating BMC. You sound like little children.

  • Mike says:

    Blue Moon is disgusting. Drink what you like, but if what you like is big beer, you have terrible taste and should pipe down and feel properly ashamed.

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