Skyrocketing demand for LightSky, the first low-calorie, low-carb beer from Blue Moon Brewing Co., has led Molson Coors Beverage Co. to make a major investment at its State Street brewery on Milwaukee’s West Side.
Molson Coors, which owns the Blue Moon business, is investing more than $20 million in its brewing and packaging operations to support the production of the citrus wheat brew launched earlier this year.
The investment in the Milwaukee brewery includes the installation of a new filler that can handle 1,700 cans per minute. The equipment can fill the slim white, blue and orange 12-ounce cans, as well as the industry standard 12-ounce cans. New equipment also been put in place to package the cans into six-packs and 12-packs.
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Molson Coors already has been producing LightSky in 16-ounce cans at the State Street brewery and, on a smaller scale, at the company’s facility on North 10th Street in Milwaukee, near Downtown.
Blue Moon introduced LightSky in February and its immediate popularity among consumers has made it the best-selling new craft brand released this year, according to data tracked by Nielsen, the global research firm.
LightSky joins Vizzy hard seltzer as a pair of highly successful beverage innovations this year. Demand for Vizzy prompted Molson Coors to make a mult-million investment in its Fort Worth, Texas, brewery.
LightSky is a 95-calorie light citrus wheat beer brewed with real tangerine peel and dry hopped with Azacca hops.
“It’s a beer that has all the qualities of Blue Moon but in a lighter profile,” Maloney said. “Drinkers are shifting to more premium, yet lighter offerings, but they’re still interested in flavor. LightSky gives them that.”
An investment is being made in the Milwaukee brewery because of its central location. It’s also where most of Blue Moon’s seasonal beers are produced, Maloney explained.
Ongoing investments will allow the Milwaukee brewery to eventually quadruple production of LightSky, Maloney said.
“LightSky is bringing in new consumers and expanding the category,” Maloney said. “We have not been able to keep up with demand, but that’s about to change.”