Blue Moon blows the roof off of Applebee’s in January

America’s best-selling craft beer continues to ride its hot streak following a successful January promotional partnership with Applebee’s.

The nationwide bar-and-grill chain offered 10-ounce Blue Moon mugs for $2 in the month, leading the country for keg sales of Blue Moon Belgian White Belgian-Style Wheat Ale for January, according to MillerCoors data. Applebee’s, which operates more than 1,700 U.S. restaurants, also led the country for on-premise chain sales of the beer for the month.

MillerCoors-owned Blue Moon participated in the offer as part of its “Neighborhood Drink" program, says Chris Gick, the company’s vice president of national accounts. He called the promotion a success, saying it “delighted customers across the country with a great brand for a great price.” It also is part of the brand’s push to occupy more on-premise tap handles in 2018, led by its flagship Belgian White.

Applebee’s President John Cywinski, speaking at parent company Dine Brands Global’s investor conference today in New York, said the $2 Blue Moon offer, part of a rotating series of drink discounts, “proved to be a terrific complement to our culinary innovation strategy, and in the process has really diversified our guest profile, (which is) very important for us.” The promotions, he said, are helping drive traffic among “value-oriented” diners.

“A dollar drink or a $2 drink generates a lot of attention, and it’s a classic way to get people in the door,” says Jonathan Maze, executive editor of Restaurant Business Magazine. “Partnerships like the one with Blue Moon are invaluable for Applebee’s to be able to (execute) these sorts of value offers that can bring people in the restaurants, and it’s working.”

For MillerCoors, the offering can help drive new customers to the beer, or reintroduce others who haven’t had a Blue Moon recently, Maze says, noting Applebee’s large footprint. Blue Moon “is getting a lot of attention for their brand and hopefully it can convert some of those people into customers.”

Blowing the lid off Applebee’s in January is part of the brand’s multi-pronged focus to continue momentum it established in 2017, when it retrenched, refocusing efforts on its signature wheat style. Belgian White finished a resurgent 2017 up 8.2 percent in sales dollars on a 6.2 percent rise in volume, per Nielsen all-outlet data through Dec. 30.

The brand expects a pair of spring launches to help keep Blue Moon rolling. Next month, it is rolling out 15-packs of its flagship beer and introducing its fast-growing Mango Wheat on draft.