Tastes Great - Less Filling
by Glenn DeCarlo
I think we all agree these are the good old day for beer lovers. Craft
beer is nearly ubiquitous and growing stronger every day. Even in the
most nondescript local bar you're likely to find at least a Sam Adams,
Guinness, or "crafty" brew from the Big Boys on tap. Yet there's still
something to be said for the not so good old days when as a
youngster (ah, over 21 of course. ) we had Ballantine, Kruger, Piels,
Schlitz, and a host of other lagers that marked a generation's passage
Some of the brands of my youth are still around today and doing
quite well. That's a guess of course since I've become a craft beer guy
and rarely, if ever, buy any of my former favorites. To tell the truth,
I was a Miller guy. Loved MGD and High LIfe and of course Miller Lite. I
had friends, not me mind you, who spent hours each day trying to
find ways to buy Miller Lite. That's what helped make their senior year
in high school so memorable I guess.
I remember Miller Lite seemed like a fine beer as a freshman in college
too. I was such a devotee that I was actually upset if they were
serving Bud Light instead. After all, what discerning palate couldn't tell
the difference? In blind taste tests I was right 50% of the time, with
only a minimal of cheating.
While I may have been a budding beer snob most others in my crowd
didn't care much about flavor. It was secondary to them. What
mattered was the beer's ability to get them intoxicated enough to
have the courage to flirt with the girls. The more attractive the girl the
more preparation was needed. Invariably it didn't work out but by
that time one really didn't care since the beer provided it's own solace.
For the record I hereby acknowledge that Miller Lite is not a very good
beer despite the sentimental value it holds for me. And that's why I
couldn't be happier to see that Miller Lite has decided to go retro. Yes,
the old can is back!
For the few years, sales of Miller Lite have been dropping. Last year
alone, sales fell 7%. That seemed to have pushed the marketing guys
to switch back to the can design that was popular in the 1970s. It's
the iconic white can with blue lettering and the retro logo. Happy days
are here again it screams to millions of folks like me.
Miller Lite is currently the fourth best-selling beer in the US which may
or may not say something about the taste in beer of most Americans.
It first appeared on shelves in 1975 as I was hitting high school and
through 1991 proudly came in that same cherished can.
Here's a bit of useless trivia for you - only the word Lite appeared on
the front of those cans: the brand name Miller was omitted. That
changed in 1992, when"Miller" was added prominently. Then in 1998
the can became silver. In 2001, that silver was changed to blue. By
that time I was saying, along with many others, who cares.
Now we've come full circle. Actually, I'm glad to see beer history
getting the respect it deserves even if it was done just to increase
sales. I know you're thinking that the public isn't dumb enough to fall
for the old retro can trick but you're wrong. In the first few months
of 2014, sales were up about 6%. And yes, I bought a 12 (or was it
15) pack, paying less than I would for most of the 4 pack crafts I
Was it worth it? Indeed yes. There's nothing wrong with a bit of
nostalgia you know. How else can you explain the popularity of TV
Land or Turner Classic Movies? As for the taste, well, if it's served ice
cold you can't taste the adjuncts or anything else for that matter,
which all in all isn't really a terrible thing.
Now all I want to know is it so good because it has great taste or
because it's less filling?
Hey Bob, I hope you consider publishing this. Even if you don't it was
fun to write a few words about Miller Lite. And just in case you think
that heyday of the beer is long gone, please note that Miller Lite won
the World Beer Cup's gold medal for Best American-Style Light Lager in
1996, 1998, 2012, and 2013.
Now that's one heck of a category.
Glenn many thanks for sending in you article. It certainly was unique
among all the ones I received this month. Great job!
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer just as Joe did. I'll select the best ones and publish them
here. So join in and get writing!
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