If you are one of those people who thinks caffeine-free coffee is kind of pointless, you may not be interested in this story.
The Blue Moon beer brand is introducing Blue Moon Iced Coffee Blonde, a “light-bodied blonde wheat ale” brewed with arabica coffee beans, and “the taste and aroma of iced coffee,” according to Blue Moon.
The brewer, a unit of MolsonCoors Brewing, says the product is “distinctly in the beer category.” Its alcohol-by-volume content is 5.4%.
At the same time, MolsonCoors is partnering with trendy coffee brand La Colombe to test Hard Cold Brew Coffee, a ready-to-drink cold brew with 4.2% alcohol-by-volume, in three markets: Boston, Denver, and greater Tampa/Fort Myers, Florida.
MolsonCoors’s move into the ready-to-drink coffee market is motivated by tracking data that says those products are growing at a 10% annual rate.
So in essence, MolsonCoors is marketing beer with coffee and coffee spiked with alcohol.
Coffee as an ingredient in some beers has been around for a long time — but mostly not marketed for that attribute. Blue Moon Iced Coffee Blonde is “lighter in color, with a more refreshing profile that’s easier to drink than a coffee stout or a coffee porter, the coffee beers most drinkers are familiar with,” says Elizabeth Hitch, the senior marketing manager for Blue Moon.
A version of Blue Moon’s Iced Coffee Blonde has been around for a while at Blue Moon’s RiNo taproom in its Denver headquarters city. Blue Moon says it’s trying to highlight popular beers at that place, making it a kind of beer test kitchen.
Iced Coffee Blonde should be available this month as a part of a Blue Moon variety 12-pack and in November as a stand-alone product.
Making alcoholic drinks out of beverages that weren’t is probably the biggest trend in the beer and spirits business at the moment. The spike-everything-liquid move is led most conspicuously by the hard seltzer market, but also including hard lemonade and ginger beer, which various analysts say will grow at a double-digit clip for the next few years.