How Miller High Life Became the Champagne of Beers

When we say champagne, what do you think of? We’re willing to bet that it’s something gold and bubbly. What the beer drinker inside of us hopes, though, is that you went straight to the champagne of beers. That’s right, we’re talking about Miller High Life today. Do you know why Miller High Life is called the champagne of beers? We’ll tell you.

Beer in the 1900s wasn’t what it is today. While it may be losing out to wine and spirits, beer, both commercial and craft, is huge right now. Back in the day, though, modern niceties like glass bottles were, in fact, rare.

Most beer would be consumed at a saloon. Those who wanted to bring it home would pour some in a bucket. (We love this idea. We need this to come back, and we need it yesterday.) Thus, when Miller High Life was introduced in glass bottles back in 1903 by the Miller Brewing Co., people knew it was fancy.

As the Miller Coors Blog acknowledges,

“Bright, bubbly beer was more of a luxury.”

1907-High-Life-ad-Smaller-805x1024
Miller

Luxury in mind, the bottle was designed with sloping sides in a similar fashion to that of a champagne bottle. This champagne-like bottle sparked the nickname.

There also have been many periods when fancy foil used to cover the bottle’s neck and cap. If you’ve ever had “real” champagne, you’ll recognize the similarity. (Disclaimer: High Life is the only champagne you need to worry about. Don’t sweat the “real” stuff.)

the champagne of beers
Miller Coors Blog

By 1906, High Life adopted the nickname “The Champagne of Bottle Beers.” No, that’s not a typo. It only appears as “Bottled Beers” in some instances. Just before 1970, though, the nickname became “The Champagne of Beers.”

It’s no surprise that, just after High Life became known as the champagne of beers in 1969, another popular slogan popped up. It’s Miller time. We’d argue that it’s still Miller time, and it may always be Miller time. Oh, what a time to be alive.

This post was originally published in July 2017.

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