Miller Brewing Company

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Miller Brewing Company
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1855
Headquarters Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Key people
Tom Long (CEO)
Products Beer
Parent MillerCoors
(a subsidiary of MolsonCoors)

The Miller Brewing Company is an American beer brewing company headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, owned by the MillerCoors division of Molson Coors. The company has brewing facilities in Albany, Georgia; Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; Fort Worth, Texas; Irwindale, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Trenton, Ohio. On 1 July 2008, Miller formed MillerCoors, a joint venture with rival Molson Coors to consolidate the production and distribution of its products in the United States, with each parent company's corporate operations and international operations remaining separate and independent of the joint venture. The joint venture ended in 2016 (See history below).


Miller Valley contains the Miller Brewing Company in Wisconsin.

Miller Brewing Company was founded in 1855 by Frederick Miller when he purchased the small Plank Road Brewery. The brewery's location in the Miller Valley in Milwaukee provided easy access to raw materials produced on nearby farms. The company remained in the family until 1966.

In 1966, the conglomerate W. R. Grace and Company bought Miller from Mrs. Lorraine John Mulberger (Frederick Miller's granddaughter, who objected to alcohol) and her family. In 1969, Philip Morris (now Altria) bought Miller from W.R. Grace for $130 million, outbidding PepsiCo. In 2002, South African Breweries bought Miller from Philip Morris for $3.6 billion worth of stock and $2 billion in debt to form SABMiller, with Philip Morris retaining a 36% ownership share and 24.99% voting rights.

In 2006, Miller Brewing purchased Sparks and Steel Reserve brands from McKenzie River Corporation for $215 million cash.[1] Miller had been producing both brands prior to this purchase.[2]

In 2007, SABMiller and Molson Coors combined their U.S. operations in a joint venture called MillerCoors. SABMiller owns 58% of the unit, which operates in the United States but not in Canada, where Molson Coors is strongest. Molson Coors owns the rest of the joint venture, but the companies have equal voting power.[3][4]

In September 2015 Anheuser-Busch Inbev announced that it had reached a full agreement to acquire competitor SABMiller for $107 Billion dollars, As part of the agreement with U.S. regulators for acquiring SABMiller AB-Inbev agreed to sell its 50 percent interest in MillerCoors to Molson Coors for $12 Billion dollars[5] According to a press release from Anheuser-Busch Inbev "Under the terms of the Molson Coors Purchase Agreement, Molson Coors has acquired full ownership of the Miller brand portfolio outside of the U.S. and perpetual licenses to the U.S. rights to all of the brands currently in the MillerCoors portfolio for the U.S. market as well as related trademarks and other intellectual property rights."[6]

Current brands[edit]

Miller beers[edit]

Miller Genuine Draft
  • Miller Lite: A pilsner type light beer. It is 4.2% ABV (4% in Canada).
  • Miller Genuine Draft: Nicknamed MGD. Introduced in 1985 with the claim of tasting like draft beer, based on the fact that the beer is cold filtered and not pasteurized. MGD received the gold medal in the American-style Premium Lager category at the 1999 World Beer Cup. It also received the silver medal at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival. The concept for cold-filtered Miller Genuine Draft was developed by product consultant Calle & Company. Martin Calle evolved the concept from Miller's New Ventures effort to launch a new dry beer at a time Miller Brewing was in danger of becoming a much-cloned light beer manufacturer. Originally introduced as "Miller High Life Genuine Draft", the "High Life" part of the name was soon dropped. MGD is actually made from the same recipe as Miller High Life but with a different treatment. It was developed to try and replicate the non-pasteurized keg flavor of High Life in a can or bottle. As of 2007 Genuine Draft had a 1.5% share of the United States market; by 2012 it had declined to 0.7% market share, representing a decline of 1.7 million barrels.[7] It has 4.7% abv.[8]
  • Miller 64— (Formerly Miller Genuine Draft 64)[9] A lighter version of the regular Miller Genuine Draft Light with a 2.8% abv, also known as "MGD 64". It contains 64 calories per 12 US fl oz (355 mL) serving (750 kJ/L). Until recently, no other beer on the market had less food energy, although Beck's Premier Light also has 64 calories per 12 US fl oz serving. In the late summer of 2009, Budweiser launched Budweiser Select 55 in response to Miller's popular MGD 64. Miller launched this beer in the summer of 2007 in Madison, Wisconsin. It was received favorably and testing expanded to Arizona, San Diego and Sacramento.[10]
  • Miller High Life: This beer was put on the market in 1903 and is Miller Brewing's oldest brand. High Life is grouped under the pilsner category of beers and is 4.6% ABV.[8] The prevailing slogan on current packaging is "The Champagne of Beers", an adaptation of its long standing slogan "The Champagne of Bottle Beers". Accordingly, this beer is noted for its high level of carbonation, making it a very bubble-filled beverage, like champagne. It was originally available in miniature champagne bottles and was one of the premier high-end beers in the country for many years. Today they are popular in 7 U.S. fl oz (207 ml; 7 imp fl oz) pony bottles, introduced in 1972.[11][12] Except for a brief period in the 1990s,[citation needed] High Life bottles have always been quite distinctive, as they have a bright gold label and are made of a clear glass that has a tapered neck like a champagne bottle. High Life has brought back its "Girl in the Moon" logo, which features a modestly dressed young lady that, by legend, is company founder Frederick Miller's granddaughter. The "Girl in the Moon" logo was originally painted in the early 1900s by an unknown artist and has since been re-painted by Nebraskan artist Mike Hagel, who added his own unique touch to it.[13] High Life beat out 17 other contestants to take home the gold medal in "American-style Lagers" category at the 2002 World Beer Cup. High Life has enjoyed a resurgence recently, using its humorous "Take Back the High Life" campaign—which features a common sense-wielding deliveryman (portrayed by Windell Middlebrooks) removing beer from "non-High Life locations" (such as restaurants serving $11.50 hamburgers) to position the brand as "a good honest beer at a tasty price".
  • Miller High Life Light: Introduced in 1994. It has 4.1% ABV.[8]
  • Miller Chill: A chelada-style 4.2% abv[8] pale lager brewed with lime and salt. Introduced successfully in 2007, sales dropped in 2008 after the launch of the rival Bud Light Lime.[14] In response, MillerCoors revamped their recipe from a 'chelada' style brew to a light beer with lime, created new packaging which included switching from a green to a clear bottle, and launched a new advertising campaign centered around the slogan "How a Light Beer with a Taste of Lime Should Taste".
  • Miller Fortune: A recent addition to the lineup. 6.9% ABV Fortune is a golden lager brewed in part with Cascade hops to give it a citrusy bite and caramel malt to impart an amber hue. Targeted to males aged 21 to 27, according to the brewery "the flavor is moderately bitter with hints of sweetness, resting somewhere between a full-flavored craft beer and a light lager." The brewery further claims that Fortune has a "malty, complex flavor hinting at bourbon, the amber brew will be distributed wider and faster than any beer MillerCoors has introduced since the Molson Coors Brewing (TAP) and SABMiller (SAB:LN) venture was formed in 2008."
  • Miller Midnight: According to the brewery, "This beer combines dark roasted and light crystal malts with caramel flavor. Getting this balance right was an important part of the two-year development process, led by Ronda Dannenberg and Jackie Lauman, specialists at Miller's flagship brewery in Milwaukee. Color, aroma, taste, and finish were all carefully considered. It is available in 330 ml and 500 ml bottles. Released in November 2008 this beer is available only in Russia." It has 5.2% ABV.[citation needed]
  • Sharp's: Miller's non-alcoholic beer.
  • Frederick Miller Classic Chocolate Lager: A beer for the holiday season released October through December in Wisconsin, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Indianapolis and northwest Indiana. It is brewed with six different malts, including chocolate and dark chocolate malts.[15]
  • Mickey's: Mickey's is Miller's "Fine Malt Liquor". It is 5.6% abv.[8]
  • Olde English 800: Malt liquor also known as "OE". It is 5.9% abv in the eastern United States, 7.5% abv in most western U.S. states and 8.0% abv in Canada.
  • Milwaukee's Best: Miller's economy label. It is 4.3% ABV, and commonly referred to as "The Beast", "Milwaukee's Beast", "Milwaukee's Worst" or "Milly B"[8]
  • Milwaukee's Best Light: Miller's light economy label. Also, it was the main sponsor of the 2008 World Series of Poker. It is 4.1% ABV. and commonly referred to as "Beast Light"[8]
  • Milwaukee's Best Ice: Miller's economy "Ice" beer. It is 6.9% ABV. and commonly referred to as "Beast Ice" or "the Yeti".[8]

Retired brands[edit]

  • Miller Lite Ice: A limited distribution ice beer with naturally higher abv content, 5.5%. In this form, it is now only found in select markets in Michigan.
  • Miller Gold: A limited edition version of Miller Genuine Draft containing 5.7% abv.
  • Miller 1855 Celebration Lager: The 1855 Celebration Lager was released in November 2005 to recognize the 150th anniversary of Miller Brewing. It was only available for a limited time.
  • Miller: A short-lived recipe from 1996 to 1998, sold in a predominantly red can (hence, aka "Miller Red").
  • Southpaw Light: Southpaw is labeled as a light beer but has the alcohol content of a regular beer. It has a strong hops flavor compared with other light Pilsner style beers. It also has unique labeling and marketing. Southpaw Light has been discontinued by Miller Brewing Company as of March 2013, due to lack of consumer demand.[16]

Hamm's beers[edit]

The Miller Brewery complex in Milwaukee, WI

Miller bought the rights to the Hamm's Brewery brands.

  • Hamm's Beer: Winner of the 2007 Gold Medal for American-Style Lager and the 2010 Gold Medal for American-Style Specialty Lager or Cream Ale or Lager at the Great American Beer Festival
  • Hamm's Golden Draft
  • Hamm's Special Light

Plank Road Brewery beers[edit]

This division is named for the 19th-century name for west State Street in Milwaukee (formerly known for its full length outside of Milwaukee as the Watertown Plank Road), where the main Miller brewery has been located since its founding.

  • Icehouse: Icehouse is an ice lager. At 5.5% alcohol by volume, it was the winner of the 2003 and 2007 Gold Medals for American-Style Specialty Lager at the Great American Beer Festival, and also won the American-style Ice Lager Gold Cup of the 1996 and 1998 World Beer Cup competitions.[17] In 2017, the packaging changed to specify 6.9% alcohol by volume.[18]
  • Icehouse EDGE: Icehouse EDGE is an ice lager/malt liquor (8.0% alcohol by volume) and was introduced in June 2012.
  • Red Dog: Although popular during the mid- to late-1990s, Red Dog faded into near obscurity near the start of the 21st century. However, since 2005 it has been returning to stores.[citation needed]


Miller has been a motorsport sponsor since the 1980s. In the CART World Series, the company has sponsored drivers such as Al Unser (1984), Danny Sullivan (1985-1989, 1991), Roberto Guerrero (1990), Bobby Rahal (1992-1998) and Kenny Bräck (2003). It also sponsored the Miller 200 race at Mid-Ohio.

In NASCAR Cup Series, Miller has sponsored Bobby Allison from 1983 to 1988, Rusty Wallace from 1990 to 2005, Kurt Busch from 2006 to 2010, and Brad Keselowski since 2011. Allison won the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and Keselowski won the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Also, the company has sponsored the Miller High Life 500, Miller 500, Miller High Life 400, Miller 400, Miller 300, Miller 200 and Miller 150 races.

In NHRA, Miller sponsored Larry Dixon for 11 years, ending their relationship in 2007.[19]


  1. ^ Fredrix, Emily (4 July 2006). "Miller dives into caffeinated drinks with $215 million deal". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  2. ^ "SABMiller Acquires 2 Brands". Los Angeles Times. Bloomberg News. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  3. ^ "Coors, Miller in U.S. Venture". 9 October 2007. 
  4. ^ "Molson Coors and SABMiller merge U.S. operations". Financial Post. Postmedia News. 9 October 2007. Archived from the original on July 21, 2010. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  5. ^ Molson Coors buying rest of MillerCoors for $12 billion (Retrieved from the Denver Post 31 October 2016)
  6. ^ Anheuser-Busch InBev Announces Completion of MillerCoors Disposal (Retrieved from the Anheuser-Busch Inbev corporate website)
  7. ^ Frohlich, Thomas C.; Sauter, Michael B. (10 December 2013). "Nine beers many Americans no longer drink". USA Today. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Beer Nutrition Facts and Codes". MillerCoors. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  9. ^ Edwards, Jim (27 March 2012). "BEFORE AND AFTER: Miller Genuine Draft 64 Has A New Logo—And A New Name". Business Insider. 
  10. ^ "MGD 64...As Light As It Gets" (Press release). Miller Brewing Company. 29 February 2008. 
  11. ^ Connor, John M.; Ward, Ronald W., eds. (6–7 November 1980). Advertising and the Food System. College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison. p. 309. 
  12. ^ "CSA Super Markets". 50. Lebhar-Friedman. 1974: 68. 
  13. ^ Stevenson, Seth (10 October 2005). "Aiming High". Slate. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  14. ^ Daykin, Tom (18 February 2009). "Miller Chill makeover squeezes in more lime flavor". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  15. ^ Daykin, Tom (12 November 2014). "At pilot brewery, MillerCoors learns what new beers will fly". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  16. ^ Engel, Jeff (12 November 2013). "MillerCoors ending Miller Chill brand". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  17. ^ "Award Winners: 1996; 1998". World Beer Cup. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  18. ^ "thisisfutile" (2017-01-04). "Icehouse ABV increased, but Miller said nothing.". Beer Advocate. Retrieved 2017-01-12. 
  19. ^ "Miller Time ends for Prudhomme's Top Fuel dragster team". Autoweek. 11 June 2006. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 

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