Blue Moon’s Cinnamon Horchata Ale, scheduled to arrive at retailers next week, is the brewery’s first product aimed at the Hispanic market, which is developing a taste for craft beer. Hispanics, whocomprised about 17 percent of the U.S. population in 2013, according to U.S. Census figures, are an increasingly important market to brewers.
According to consumer research firm Technomic, 43 percent of Hispanic consumers order craft beer in restaurants or bars at least once a month, and 31 percent drink craft beer at home. Those figures mirror the general population. Frequent craft-beer buyers skew toward Hispanic consumers, who will “undoubtedly continue to explore craft beer at the bar and in the retail store,” Technomic research found.
The Blue Moon product follows citrus-infused Coors Light Summer Brew, which debuted last May with the Latino drinker in mind. MillerCoors competitor Anheuser-Busch InBev was among the first to target the ethnic group with its line of Bud Light variations, which include Lime-a-Rita, Straw-ber-Rita and the forthcoming Bud Light Lemon-ade-Rita, which is due to arrive in time for summer.
Blue Moon’s Cinnamon Horchata is light and straw-colored in appearance with the distinct aroma of cinnamon. The ale leans heavily on long-grain rice in its grain bill, another first for Blue Moon, whose staple Belgian White is built primarily on wheat.
Unlike a traditional Latin American horchata, Blue Moon’s version is neither creamy nor overly sweet. At 5.5 percent alcohol by volume, the beer is full-bodied but finishes clean, with cinnamon notes throughout.
MillerCoors debuted the beer late last year in its Blue Moon fall variety packs and released six packs in 10 U.S. markets within the past few months, including New York, Denver, Los Angeles and Dallas. Chicago, historically a strong Blue Moon market, is among the next batch of test markets for the beer, which has surpassed sales expectations. Sixers are scheduled to arrive March 1 and are priced in line with other Blue Moon variations, typically around $8.99.