Blue Moon, Peroni making big on-premise gains

No brands in the Molson Coors portfolio welcomed the return of the on-premise more than Blue Moon and Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

Both brands see a significant portion of sales from bars and restaurants, and both radiate a certain je ne sais quoi. So the resurgence of the on-premise? A boost that’s not only helped grow sales significantly, but also reestablished the brands as above-premium stalwarts.

“There’s something magical about the experience of getting Blue Moon in that iconic glass with the orange garnish. Peroni has that badge value that really projects Italian style and sophistication,” says Joy Ghosh, vice president for above-premium brands at Molson Coors Beverage Company. “These brands definitely felt the impact during the pandemic.”

But drinkers and diners are back, and brands like Blue Moon and Peroni are recovering from the losses of the last two-plus years and are poised to win back even more growth moving forward, Ghosh says.

“This year, we’re getting back a lot of tap handles, and we’re seeing the performance and health of these two brands change,” he says. This year, Blue Moon has recovered more than 90% of the tap volume it had in 2019, while Peroni has earned back 86%, says Ghosh.

Pushing Peroni

Peroni is among the top 10 brands regaining sales in the on-premise, growing sales dollars by more than 46% versus last year and volume nearly 39% versus 2021, according Nielsen-CGA data.

As crowds returned to the on-premise, the brand has pressed forward with plans to re-engage consumers, looking to show how Peroni elevates a dining experience with its aspirational Italian positioning.

Ghosh says one key component has been the return of Peroni’s brand ambassador program, which targets high-end bars and restaurants for sampling events. That has netted new distribution opportunities and found ways for Peroni to be embedded in culture driving moments in major cities.

And Peroni’s growing faster than other European import, Ghosh says.

“It’s growing not just because bars and restaurants are open,” he says. “But because people want that authentic Italian taste and feeling in every sip.”

‘One of a Kind’

Blue Moon has thrived in the on-premise due in part to what Ghosh calls “our orange ritual.” Served in a tall, distinctly shaped glass with an orange slice, Blue Moon Belgian White Belgian-Style Wheat Ale is an eye-catcher.

“It’s a signal. It prompts other people to want to order a Blue Moon, too,” he says. “It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you get every time.”

That’s the centerpiece of the brand’s current campaign, dubbed “Made Brighter,” which likens Blue Moon to a work of art. It’s been effective as consumers have returned to their favorite bars and restaurants, growing Blue Moon’s on-premise dollar sales by nearly 18% versus last year, according to Nielsen-CGA data.

For a brand that moves about half of its volume through the on-premise, success in bars and restaurants can’t be overstated. Meanwhile, Ghosh sees opportunity for Moon Haze, the award-winning hazy Blue Moon introduced in 2021.

“Moon Haze is performing really well in retail, already becoming the No. 3 hazy beer since launch, and there’s an opportunity to drive more in the on-premise. There’s lots of growth in the hazy category, and this is an accessible version with the Blue Moon twist," Ghosh says.

While Peroni and Blue Moon continue working to keep sales momentum, Ghosh says the brands are positioned well to weather an economic downturn, should one come to pass.

“There’s a big role for above-premium beer during downturns. There’s always going to be people wanting to celebrate and connect, over food, and other moments of magic that bring people together. Trading up is still a very attainable piece of luxury,” he says. “That’s where brands like Blue Moon and Peroni come in.”