Average Beer, Great Positioning. Miller High Life “The Champagne of Beers”

I don’t think I would be alone in saying that American mass market beers are pretty average.

As an Australian, where we drink more beer per capita than any other country, I should know. And no Fosters is not “Australian for Beer”.

Fortunately, in the last few months I spent living in Oregon I was able to find some great microbreweries, stopping me from getting back on a plane down under as soon as I could.

But one day I was sitting at a bar checking out the drinks menu, when I noticed something strange.

Right under Dom Perignon there was a beer in the sparkling wine section – Miller High Life.

Why? Because it is the “Champagne of Beers” of course!

Miller High Life on the Sparkling Wine List

Miller High Life on the Sparkling Wine List

I asked the barman if this was a joke, and it wasn’t. Americans aren’t big on sarcasm.

Apparently, Miller High Life has been using the “Champagne of Beers” tagline since the 50s. (Note the women drinking beer in this ad, a clear strategy for expanding the market)

So I decided to try this “Champagne of Beers”.

To Miller’s credit the tapered neck bottle did kind of look Champagne like. And it did have a high level of carbonation, kind of like Champagne.

Miller High Life Bottle

Miller High Life Bottle

But in the end it didn’t really taste like Champagne. Or beer for that matter.

This was just a case of brilliant positioning that got me to try the product.

So cheers to the marketing team at Miller for a job well done!


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Categories: branding, International Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Product Marketing

Author:Chris Maloney

Chris is a multi-channel marketing strategist and one of Australia's most awarded young marketers.


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5 Comments on “Average Beer, Great Positioning. Miller High Life “The Champagne of Beers””

  1. January 14, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    An excellent example of great positioning. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. January 14, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Thank Rajib, glad you like it

  3. Scott Adams
    November 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I can’t tell whether this was written seriously or not. The idea that a restaurant would put Miller High Life in the sparkling section of a wine list can’t be anything other than a joke. Chalking it up to a generalization about Americans seems absurd, especially with the increasing ubiquity of American craft brewing. We make a tremendous amount of truly good beer. If you are serious, maybe you haven’t seen enough of the High Life campaigns to see how often they are tongue in cheek. For at least fifteen years Miller has shown a sense of humor, recognizing the preposterousness of the “champagne of beers” claim, resulting in some extremely weird commercials juxtaposing the high life slogan with the more true to life situations in which the beer is consumed.

    • November 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

      In short, the post was tongue-in-cheek, sorry if you read it another way. Having said that I’ve had plenty of great American craft beers, but I stand by the fact that Miller High Life is not one of them.


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