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Big Brewers Get Crafty About Their Beers

Retail sales of craft beers made by major brewing companies or their affiliates grew at nearly three times the rate of independent craft brews through the first eight months of this year, according to market-research firm Nielsen Co. The big brewers' brands--including such top sellers as Molson Coors's Blue Moon and Miller's Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve--account for 25% of the category, an increase of four percentage points from a year earlier.

The major brewers generally avoid using the parent company's name on the labels for their craft beers. Anheuser-Busch, for example, lists Green Valley Brewing Co. as the maker of its Wild Hop Lager, an organic beer.

Some beer aficionados and industry executives deride the brews made by big companies as "faux" crafts. The major brewers say they're not trying to deceive anyone. "We see Blue Moon as being a special brand," says Andy England, CMO of Coors Brewing Co., the U.S. unit of Molson Coors. It's "no more relevant than Kashi being owned by Kellogg or Lexus being owned by Toyota," he says.



Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal »

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