Keith Villa, the creator of the largest and most iconic “pseudo-craft” brand, Blue Moon, has announced his retirement from Blue Moon parent company, MillerCoors. Blue Moon was created by Villa back in 1995 and was inspired by the time he spent in Belgium while attending the University of Brussels as a Ph.D. student in Brewing. The original recipe developed in Brussels and its signature sliced fruit garnish is what led to the Blue Moon that we know today. The orange slice came about in 2001, when Villa admitted adding it to the beer glass as a way to grab people’s attention. Boy did it ever work!
Many beer geeks love to hate Blue Moon; it blurs the line with some consumers over true “craft” beer, but, it is undeniable that over the past 20+ years Blue Moon has become one of the largest and most widely recognizable “gateway beers” on the market. Often serving as the introductory brew that introduces non-craft beer drinkers to the glory (or dark side) of craft beer. In fact, international market research firm IRI Worldwide considers Blue Moon to be the largest selling “craft” beer in grocery and convenience stores with over 250 million in sales in 2017.
Mr. Villa, as many brewers do, started out as a home brewer. He went to the University of Colorado for molecular biology and originally planned on going to medical school to be a pediatrician, but that changed when he applied for and accepted a job at Coors Brewing. He had not originally intended on brewing professionally, but planned to test the water to see if he indeed liked brewing enough to make it a full time gig and if that failed, he figured he could apply to Medical School. Alas, he soon fell in love with the job of brewing beer and here we are today celebrating Keith Villa’s legacy that is Blue Moon.
Keith stated that he is retiring to spend more time with his family, but that’s not all! In an interview with Forbes, he said that he has plans of opening “at least two new breweries… dedicated to ultra-high end offerings, and beers brewed with exploratory, cutting edge ingredients.” Mr. Villa promised more info in the upcoming weeks and we at Beer Down Here are going to stay on the beat to bring you the latest beer news.
UPDATE: After a couple of long months of waiting, Keith Villa announced that he will be creating non-alcoholic THC infused craft beers. This honestly threw us for a loop! His intentions are to offer high end craft offering, brewed in the traditional way, but then remove the alcohol and infuse it with varying amounts of THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that gets you stoned. He will have different strengths just as you have differing ABVs in various beer styles.
We are interested to see how this plan goes, because we are sure that there will be mountains of regulations that he will have to traverse to get his THC beer on the shelves and in glasses!