Do you remember finding covert ways to buy Miller Lite in high school, and drinking it at house parties when parents were out of town for the weekend? Well I sure do! Back then, Miller Lite seemed like a fine beer, and the flavor did not matter so much as its ability to get us drunk so we could have the courage to flirt with the girls. Well these days, I am a craft beer enthusiast, and to be frank, I am not so crazy about Miller Lite. And if we are honest, it really is a pretty terrible beer (or a decent corn soda). But it will always hold a sentimental value for me. So I am actually rather amused and excited that Miller Lite has decided to go retro.
For the past six years, sales of Miller Lite have been dropping. In 2013 alone, sales fell 7%. MillerCoors have decided to begin selling Miller Lite in a can design that was popular in the 1970s: a white can with blue lettering and the logo. This retro design are the cans featured in the movie Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
“People are seeking authentic brands today,” said Ryan Reis, senior director of the Miller brand at MillerCoors. “The white can turns people’s heads.”
Miller Lite is the fourth best-selling beer in the US. I am not sure what this says about Americans and their taste for beer, but I digress. Miller Lite first appeared on shelves in 1975. Until 1991, the white can with the blue lettering and logo was basically the same, with only some very subtle changes. Interestingly, only the word Lite appeared on the front of the can: the brand name Miller was omitted. That changed in 1992, when the word Miller was added prominently. Then in 1998 the can became silver. In 2001, that silver was changed to blue. And now, it is white again. I suppose Solomon was right that there is nothing new under the sun, and everything old becomes new again. Is the retro branding campaign working? Well, in the first few months of 2014, sales were up about 6%.
I am not a fan of Miller Lite, as a beer. But hey, we all have our emotional attachments. And when I see the “new” white can, it reminds me of simpler times. It reminds me of high school house parties, awkward attempts to ask out girls, my first year at college, and my excitement when I could first purchase beer legally at age 21. So bring it back, Miller Lite, I say. Memories are worth something for sure, even if the beer itself is not.