MillerCoors today announced that Blue Moon founder Keith Villa will depart the organization on January 5.
In a note to distributors and other company executives, MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley and CMO David Kroll said Villa was retiring from the organization to “spend time with his family and pursue new endeavors.”
“While I am stepping away and retiring from MillerCoors, this company will forever hold a special place in my heart,” Villa said via the statement. “Over the last 20 years, I have witnessed the growth of Blue Moon from a local beer that we developed at the SandLot to a brand that is sold around the world.”
Villa, who served as head brewmaster and global brand ambassador, created the recipe for flagship Blue Moon Belgian White in 1995. He said the beer was inspired by his time in Belgium where he earned a PhD in brewing from the University of Brussels.
“On behalf of everyone at MillerCoors and millions of beer drinkers, we thank Keith not only for his creativity, vision and contributions to Blue Moon Brewing Company, but for helping open the hearts and minds of beer drinkers across the world,” Hattersley and Kroll added.
According to market research firm IRI Worldwide, Blue Moon Belgian White Ale — which was popularized nationally after the company began encouraging retailers to serve pints with a slice of orange — ranks as the No. 1 “craft” brand with sales of more than $258 million in grocery and convenience stores. Through the first 11 months of 2017, dollar sales for the brand were up 7.3 percent.
“The success of Blue Moon has surpassed my wildest dreams and I am proud to have partnered with so many people along the way who have helped Blue Moon get to this point,” Villa said. “I know the future of Blue Moon shines brightly. The brand and the brewing are in great hands and I can’t wait to watch as the next chapters of Blue Moon’s story are written.”
In his retirement, Villa “will have no formal involvement” with the company, the statement said.
Villa added that he’s “looking forward to spending time with my family, traveling and exploring new creative ventures.”