WAPAKONETA — Budweiser is calling it “beer’s next frontier.” Moeller Brew Barn is calling it “First on the Moon.”
The 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing has got brands both national and local capitalizing on nostalgia for that historic day July 24, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two men to walk on the moon.
“This is a national historic moment,” said Nick Moeller, founder of Moeller Brew Barn in Maria Stein, which released its own First on the Moon Pale Ale on Thursday, May 16. Special edition six-packs are now on sale in Wapakoneta and will be available in Lima and other parts western Ohio this summer.
The beer was crafted in coordination with Wapakoneta’s First on the Moon organization, which has been planning the Summer Moon Festival and other attractions commemorating the Apollo 11 anniversary for going on two years. The festivities started last fall with the screening of “First Man,” the Neil Armstrong biopic, at Wapa Theatre in Wapakoneta.
“I think there’s a ton of pride in Ohio,” Moeller said. “I’m proud of Ohio and I’m super proud to have a can that honors Neil Armstrong and the historic moment.”
As Neil Armstrong’s hometown gets ready for an influx of tourists this summer, other restaurants in the Wapakoneta area have incorporated Apollo 11-inspired drinks and specials on their menu, like the Aldrin and Armstrong burger melt at J. Marie’s restaurant.
Jackie Martell, executive director of the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce, said the town has already hosted bus loads of tourists and sold out of Apollo 11 branded merchandise on several occasions months away from the Summer Moon Festival.
“We’re one of the major (destinations) being the hometown of Neil Armstrong,” she said.
“We knew that it was an event that Wapakoneta wanted to celebrate and we knew that many would want to join in those celebrations,” Martell explained. “We’ve been working hard to truly commemorate this anniversary.”
The Apollo 11 nostalgia is not limited to Wapakoneta.
Over in Columbus, Land-Grant Brewing Company unveiled an Apollo 11 branded beer — Tranquility Base — in February. And Budweiser recently released Discovery Reserve, which Budweiser says uses a recipe that mimics beers of that time.
“It’s a fun way to be creative and tell these cool stories and relate them to beer,” said Walt Keys, co-founder, owner and creative director for Land-Grant Brewing.
“There’s a lot you can do with water, hops, barley and wheat,” Keys said. “A lot of experimenting. The breweries are always wanting to try something new. There’s always an opportunity to create a new beer. … In 2019, the craft beer drinker is always looking for the latest and greatest thing on the shelf.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.