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Miller Brewing Company

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Miller Brewing Company
Company typeSubsidiary
FounderFrederick Miller
Headquarters3939 West Highland Blvd
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
OwnerMolson Coors

The Miller Brewing Company is an American brewery and beer company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was founded in 1855 by Frederick Miller. Molson Coors acquired the full global brand portfolio of Miller Brewing Company in 2016,[1][2] and operates the Miller Brewery at the site of the original Miller Brewing Company complex.


Miller Valley in Milwaukee, site of the Miller Brewing Company complex

Miller Brewing Company was founded in Milwaukee in 1855 by Frederick Miller after his emigration from Hohenzollern, Germany, in 1854 with a unique brewer's yeast. Initially, he purchased the small Plank Road Brewery for $2,300 ($66,736 in 2018).[3] The brewery's location in what is now the Miller Valley provided easy access to raw materials produced on nearby farms. In 1855, Miller changed its name to Miller Brewing Company, Inc.[4] The enterprise remained in the family until 1966.

The company was one of six breweries affected by the 1953 Milwaukee brewery strike. In 1961, Miller purchased the smallest of the “Big Five” Milwaukee brewers, A. Gettelman Brewing Company.[5]

In 1966, the conglomerate W. R. Grace and Company bought Miller from 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 1999, Miller acquired the Hamm's brand from Pabst.

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, SABMiller purchased the Sparks and Steel Reserve brands from McKenzie River Corporation for $215 million.[6] Miller had been producing both brands prior to the purchase.[7]

On July 1, 2008, SABMiller 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 to remain separate and independent of the joint venture. SABMiller owned 58% of the unit, which operated in the United States but not in Canada, where Molson Coors is strongest, but the companies had equal voting power.[8][9]

Sole ownership by Molson Coors[edit]

In September 2015, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced it had reached a full agreement to acquire SABMiller for $107 billion.[10] As part of the agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, SABMiller divested itself of the Miller brands in the U.S. by selling its stake in MillerCoors to Molson Coors.[1][11] Consequently, on October 11, 2016, SABMiller in the U.S. sold its interests in MillerCoors to Molson Coors for around US $12 billion. Molson Coors gained full ownership of the Miller brand portfolio outside the US, and retained the rights within the U.S. (including Puerto Rico).[2][12]


Miller Genuine Draft 330mL bottle

Brands with the Miller name, or historically sold by Miller Brewing company, include:

  • Miller High Life: An American-style lager introduced in 1903, High Life is Miller Brewing's oldest brand and is 4.6% abv.[13] It is noted for its high level of carbonation, like champagne, leading to its longtime slogan "The Champagne of Beers". It was one of the premier high-end beers in the US for many years.[14] High Life bottles feature a bright gold label and are made of a clear glass that has a tapered neck like a champagne bottle. The label includes the "Girl in the Moon" logo, which features a woman in a circus costume seated on a crescent moon.[15] The brand helped popularize 7 U.S. fl oz (207 ml) pony bottles, introduced in 1972.[16][17]
  • Miller Lite: An American-style light lager. Introduced in 1972, it was the first light beer to see wide popularity. It is 4.2% abv (4% in Canada).
  • Miller Genuine Draft: Nicknamed MGD, it was introduced in 1985 as "Miller High Life Genuine Draft". Developed to replicate the flavor of High Life from a non-pasteurized keg in a can or bottle, MGD is made from the same recipe as High Life but the beer is cold filtered instead of pasteurized. 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.[18] It has 4.7% abv.[13]
  • Miller 64: (Formerly Miller Genuine Draft 64)[19] An "ultra light" beer with 2.8% abv, it contains 64 calories per 12 US fl oz (355 mL) serving (750 kJ/L). 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.[20]
  • Frederick Miller Classic Chocolate Lager: A seasonal lager available from October to December in Wisconsin, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Indianapolis and northwest Indiana. It is brewed with six different malts, including chocolate and dark chocolate malts.[21]
  • Miller Sharp's: A non-alcoholic beer introduced in 1989.[22]

Economy brands[edit]

  • Milwaukee's Best: Miller's economy label. It is 4.8% abv.[13]
  • Milwaukee's Best Light: Light version of Milwaukee's Best. It is 4.1% abv.[13]
  • Milwaukee's Best Ice: Miller's economy ice beer. It is 5.9% abv.[13]

Malt liquor[edit]

  • Mickey's: Mickey's is a malt liquor that is 5.6% abv.[13]
  • 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.


  • Miller High Life Light: Introduced in 1994, it had 4.1% abv. It was discontinued in 2021 to focus on Miller Lite.[23]
  • Miller Chill: A chelada-style 4.2% abv[13] pale lager brewed with lime and salt. Introduced successfully in 2007, sales dropped in 2008 after the launch of the rival Bud Light Lime.[24] 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". It was discontinued in 2013.


Miller has been a large 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 1997, Miller Brewing Company, under its Miller Lite brand, sponsored a car in the Indy Racing League, specifically for the Indianapolis 500. The car was driven by Arie Luyendyk. This sponsorship was significant as Luyendyk won the 1997 Indianapolis 500.

In the NASCAR Cup Series, Miller has sponsored Bobby Allison from 1983 to 1988, Dick Trickle in 1989, Rusty Wallace from 1990 to 2005, Kurt Busch from 2006 to 2010, and Brad Keselowski from 2011 to 2020. Allison won the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and Keselowski won the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 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 the NHRA, Miller sponsored Larry Dixon for 11 years until 2007.[25]

From its opening in 2001 until the end of 2020, Miller owned the naming rights to Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers when the naming rights were bought by American Family Insurance in 2019.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brown, Lisa (October 11, 2016). "A-B InBev finalizes $100B billion acquisition of SABMiller, creating world's largest beer company". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Molson Coors Completes Acquisition of Full Ownership of MillerCoors and Global Miller Brand Portfolio". Molson Coors. October 11, 2016. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  3. ^ "Our History". Molson Coors. 2017. Archived from the original on December 21, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  4. ^ "Company Overview of Miller Brewing Company, Inc". Bloomberg Research. January 31, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  5. ^ "A. Gettelman Brewing Company | Encyclopedia of Milwaukee". Retrieved February 11, 2019..
  6. ^ Fredrix, Emily (July 4, 2006). "Miller dives into caffeinated drinks with $215 million deal". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  7. ^ "SABMiller Acquires 2 Brands". Los Angeles Times. Bloomberg News. July 4, 2006. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  8. ^ "Coors, Miller in U.S. Venture". TheStreet.com. October 9, 2007.
  9. ^ "Molson Coors and SABMiller merge U.S. operations". Financial Post. October 9, 2007. Archived from the original on July 21, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  10. ^ Nurin, Tara (October 10, 2016). "It's Final: AB InBev Closes On Deal To Buy SABMiller". Forbes. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  11. ^ "Molson Coors buying rest of MillerCoors for $12 billion". Denver Post. November 11, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  12. ^ Trotter, Greg (October 11, 2016). "With new owner, MillerCoors focuses on growth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Beer Nutrition Facts and Codes". MillerCoors. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  14. ^ Saladino, Emily (November 27, 2017). "The Surprisingly Legit Reasons Miller High Life Is Called the Champagne of Beers". Vinepair. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  15. ^ Herrewig, Dave (November 6, 2013). "Here's what we know about the Miller High Life lady". Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  16. ^ Connor, John M.; Ward, Ronald W., eds. (November 6–7, 1980). Advertising and the Food System. College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison. p. 309.
  17. ^ "CSA Super Markets". 50. Lebhar-Friedman. 1974: 68. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ Frohlich, Thomas C.; Sauter, Michael B. (December 10, 2013). "Nine beers many Americans no longer drink". USA Today. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  19. ^ Edwards, Jim (March 27, 2012). "Before and After: Miller Genuine Draft 64 Has A New Logo – And A New Name". Business Insider.
  20. ^ "MGD 64...As Light As It Gets" (Press release). Miller Brewing Company. February 29, 2008.
  21. ^ Daykin, Tom (November 12, 2014). "At pilot brewery, MillerCoors learns what new beers will fly". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  22. ^ "Sharp's non-alcoholic beer". Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  23. ^ "Molson Coors is discontinuing these 11 beers". Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  24. ^ Daykin, Tom (February 18, 2009). "Miller Chill makeover squeezes in more lime flavor". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  25. ^ "Miller Time ends for Prudhomme's Top Fuel dragster team". Autoweek. June 11, 2006. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  26. ^ Gores, Paul; Nelson, James; Barrett, Rick (January 23, 2019). "American Family Insurance to replace Miller Brewing Co. as naming rights sponsor for Brewers stadium". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved November 30, 2021.

External links[edit]