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    In the Kitchen with Choi

    Roy Choi-Blue Moon partnership brings seasonal recipes to California market

    Last May, California retailers had the chance to tap an innovative new program built around a partnership between Blue Moon Brewing Co. and popular celebrity chef Roy Choi. The “Cook Like You Mean It” program, which introduced innovative recipes Choi created using Blue Moon brands, was designed to engage shoppers and increases brand awareness of Blue Moon.

    According to Matt Dzarnowski, MillerCoors’ Director of Channel Solutions, “Cook Like You Mean It” was so successful that it is continuing in the California market through the fourth quarter of 2015.

    “Retailers are excited about the solution. Roy’s recipes are simple, and he encourages shoppers to add their own flair to the dish so the solution isn’t complex or intimidating,” Dzarnowski says. “Results have been very encouraging, and there are a number of executions planned for this fall.  We are very happy with the solution, so much so that we will be going even bigger in 2016.”

    The Roy Choi program is highly flexibile, and offers retailers the chance to feature a calendar of recipes based on seasonal offerings from Blue Moon, Dzarnowski explains.

    This season, the celebrity chef’s 26 unique and inspiring “Cook Like You Mean It” recipes (including Dollar Dollar Bills Y’All and Clam Fam) showcase five different Blue Moon beers— Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale, Blue Moon White IPA, plus new Blue Moon Pumpkin Harvest Ale and Blue Moon Gingerbread Spiced Ale—two brews key to the holiday season ahead.

    “The Pumpkin Harvest Ale is crafted with pumpkin plus harvest spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.  Those flavors pair well with beef dishes and seasonal soups,” Dzarnowski says. “One of our favorite recipes to pair with Harvest Pumpkin Ale is Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale Braised Beef Short Ribs."

    The Gingerbread Spiced Ale features what Dzarnowski calls “wintery classic tastes of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses. The notes of ginger pair well with dishes like ginger chicken or ginger carrot soup, curry chicken, goat cheese, and desserts made with ginger, cinnamon, or chocolate," he says.

    Backed by Support from Blue Moon

    Retailers who opt in to the “Cook Like You Mean it” program will benefit from a wealth of marketing support throughout the all-important holiday selling season.

    In addition to stunning photographs of each recipe posted on the CookLikeRoy.com mobile-enabled site, three to four unique posts on Blue Moon social platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will also drive awareness of the Roy Choi-Blue Moon partnership.

    “There will also be digital video content and a public relations program for the partnership,” says Dzarnowski, who suggests featuring in-store signage and other in-store marketing materials near the fresh meat section to boost basket-building opportunities.

    The ultimate goal: to make Blue Moon brands customers’ must-buy brews for their holiday cooking and entertaining this year.

    As Choi says in his introduction at CookLikeRoy.com, “As you're reading through these recipes, just keep in mind I kept 'em simple for a reason. I encourage you to trust your instincts and improvise. My recipes are road maps, but you gotta find your own way through the traffic. So crack open a Blue Moon and have fun with it.”

    'Lite' Up the Season

    First it was the Miller Lite-Guy Fieri "Get Grillin’ With Guy" program that delivered strong results in 2014.

    In Spring 2015 came an expanded version of the program, complete with a website featuring 15 new Cooking Tips & Tricks videos starring the popular celebrity chef. And all through summer and into the Fall football season, Guy Fieri has been the grill master with Miller Lite. 

    Building on the success of those programs, Fieri and Miller Lite have teamed up once again to create crowd-pleasing recipes sure to help your customers be the heroes of their holiday get-togethers during this special time of year. 

    “We have created a recipe card for use at point of purchase that includes four Miller Lite holiday recipes Guy created specifically for this season,” says Matt Dzarnowski, MillerCoors’ Director of Channel Solutions.

    The eye-catching card features a picture of Fieri, plus beautiful color photos of each dish: Holiday Stuffed Pork Loin, Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Miller Lite Glaze, and Smoked Turkey Legs with cranberry BBQ Sauce—all from the kitchen of Guy Fieri.

    Customization is Key

    The recipe card is just one tool participating retailers can use to customize the Guy Fieri-Miller Lite program to fit their individual store’s needs.

    “There are many retailers who are choosing to go bigger with this program during the holidays by creating cross-merchandised displays that feature the main ingredients in these holiday-inspired recipes,” Dzarnowski says.

    That ability to tailor the program helps retailers make meal-planning easier for their busy holiday shoppers and boosts basket spend in the process.

    “Activations are more than three times that of 2014, and each retailer solution is unique,” Dzarnowski reports. “This solution is touching 70 percent of the Miller Lite grocery volume and we are expecting that number to grow. The flexibility of the Miller Lite Grillin’ with Guy solution allows our teams to work closely with their customers to align with their initiatives.  We have over 70 recipes and great video content featuring cooking tips and recipe demonstrations from Guy that can complement our customer’s protein, grilling, and holiday initiatives.

    “Honestly, we’ve been very impressed with the activations to date,” he continues. “Each of our customers has found ways to really integrate the solution with their plans and that’s what makes them unique.”

    Marketing support will help ensure the success of the program.

    “We have a strong digital marketing investment to drive the solution during the holidays,” Dzarnowski says.

    Pints & Plates—Another Holiday Highlight

    Another program heating up the holidays is Pints & Plates, MillerCoors’ beer and food pairing program that debuted with great success in Fall 2013.

    “We continue to leverage the pintsandplates.com website to help retailers feature seasonal beers from the MillerCoors portfolio with relevant recipes for all occasions,” Dzarnowski says. “From appetizers for your customers’ friends and family to main courses for their sit-down holiday meals, Pints and Plates can deliver excellent recipes and pairings for memorable holiday experience with beer and food.”

    Blue Moon Gingerbread Spiced Ale and Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter are two brews the program will promote this holiday season.

    The Gingerbread Spiced Ale—a Limited Winter Release available in 12-ounce bottles and in the Brewmaster's Sampler Pack—was crafted based on suggestions from Blue Moon fans.

    “After lots of great suggestions and tastings, it was clear that Gingerbread Spiced Ale rose to the top,” Dzarnowski says.

    The Snowdrift Vanilla Porter—available November through December—is a fuller-bodied brew with hints of cocoa, coffee and caramel brought out by roasted malts and aged on real vanilla.

    “Our Leinenkugel's Snowdrift Vanilla Porter is smooth and creamy, making it ideal for winter.  The creamy body and vanilla notes pair well with marshmallow sweet potato casserole, glazed ham with cherries, bananas foster and almost any combination of chocolate and cherry,” Dzarnowski says.

    Chocolate Cream Pudding and Apricot Brown Sugar Ham are two holiday recipes available through the Pints & Plates program.

    Like the other beer-pairing programs, Pints & Plates will enjoy digital media support from MillerCoors throughout the holiday season. “This solution responds well to this type of support and we will continue our efforts in this space,” Dzarnowski says.

    Check out all three of these exciting programs online! Visit CookLikeRoy.com; grillwithguy.com; and pintsandplates.com.

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