Blue Moon beer, created in Denver, forces its way into Super Bowl ad

Coors Light and Miller Lite are two of the biggest-selling beers in the United States, but because Anheuser Busch, which makes Bud Lite, has held the exclusive rights to advertise as a brewery during the Super Bowl, neither had been featured in a Super Bowl ad in more than 30 years.

Until yesterday. That’s because Anheuser Busch gave up its exclusive rights, which meant that Molson Coors, which owns both Coors and Miller, was free to pay $7 million for the honor.

To capitalize on that, the company ran a pre-game campaign teasing the question of which brand would get the spot, Miller Lite or Coors Light. In the end, the beermaker chose to have the two beers duke it out in a bar — but with a surprise ending: the ad was actually for Blue Moon.

To answer your first question: Yes, Blue Moon, a Belgian-style wheat beer, was created by Coors and has been one of the company’s products since 1995. But the beer’s story is much more interesting than that. It was first brewed in 1995 in the basement of Coors Field. That’s because Coors opened a small brewery, the Sandlot, in the stadium when it debuted in LoDo that year.

But some Coors executives hated the beer, in large part because of its hazy look, something that is traditional for Belgian-style wheat beers, but not for American lagers like Coors. In fact, cloudy beers were the opposite of what the company wanted to portray to the public.

But that same public loved Blue Moon, and the full-flavored brand quickly gained popularity, adding new flavors and styles and eventually becoming a best-seller worldwide. It was so popular, in fact, that the craft-brewing trade organization, the Brewers Association (along with many of its independently owned members, like California’s Sierra Nevada), criticized Coors for not labeling it as a Coors product, accusing the company of wanting to hurt craft breweries.

But Molson Coors certainly took full ownership of the brand on Super Bowl Sunday, giving the Denver-born juggernaut its place in the sun — or, rather, the moon.

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