Blue Moon picks up momentum heading into fourth quarter on strength of flagship

Riding a wave of momentum starting with its Kentucky Derby sponsorship through its Reach for the Moon campaign, Blue Moon’s flagship beer is back in the black for 2019.

Blue Moon Belgian White wheat-style ale, the top-selling craft beer in America, is now up 0.2% year-to-date after posting 3.8% growth over the most-recent four-week period, according to Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data through Oct. 5. The brand is gaining share in total beer over the most-recent period and holding share year-to-date, data show.

The brand franchise, meanwhile, also is gathering momentum, up 0.8% in the most-recent four weeks in Nielsen, fueled by growth in the flagship and the return of Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat, the first nationally distributed pumpkin beer.

“Our new campaign has performed very well, with our latest TV spots receiving positive feedback from consumers,” says Michelle Nagel, associate marketing manager for Blue Moon. “On top of that, our retail chain business is doing very well and we’ve seen a really big seasonal trend shift in the transition to Harvest Pumpkin Wheat.”

Blue Moon in August launched the next phase of its Reach for the Moon campaign, which aims to show the brand can “bring the extraordinary to the everyday.” Its lead TV spot presents Blue Moon in an emotional, more aspirational setting and features a young professional heroine who witnesses a series of “once in a blue moon events.”

“Our message is breaking through, and we’re going to continue our Reach for the Moon messaging throughout the fourth quarter,” says Bryan Ferschinger, vice president of above premium brands for MillerCoors. The lead TV spot will run nationally during televised pro football games throughout the fourth quarter, as well as during previews in movie theaters during December, a traditionally big box office month.

Increased distribution of Blue Moon’s 15-packs of cans are leading the charge, Nagel says, accounting for the lion’s share of the gains. And, importantly, those packs remain profitable for the brand, she says.

Fifteen-packs also are part of the brand’s effort to capture more occasions at retail. Blue Moon has long over-indexed in the on-premise channel, which accounts for nearly half its volume, so getting more consumers to consider the brand on store shelves is key for future growth. That makes getting the brand featured in in-store displays and on store ads critical, especially with its larger packs of cans that open the door for Blue Moon to fit in better with certain fall occasions where glass isn’t welcome, such as football tailgates.

It’s all part of the brand’s strategy to “get people drinking Blue Moon more often – not only in bars and restaurants, but in their homes, at barbecues and in backyards,” Ferschinger says. “The good news is we’re seeing momentum from our campaign, and our goal now is to keep it going and finish the year strong.”