Belgian customs destroyed over 2,000 cans of Miller High Life beer that were advertised as the “Champagne of Beers” at the request of the Comité Champagne. They claim that the nickname infringes on the protected “Champagne” designation. The shipment was intercepted in the Belgian port of Antwerp in February and was destined for Germany. Molson Coors Beverage Co., which owns the Miller High Life brand, does not currently export it to the EU. The buyer in Germany was informed and did not contest the decision to destroy the beers.
For almost 120 years, Miller High Life has used the “Champagne of Beers” slogan. However, the Comité Champagne asked for the destruction of a shipment of 2,352 cans on the grounds that the nickname infringes on the protected designation of origin “Champagne.” The European Union has a system of protected geographical designations created to guarantee the true origin and quality of artisanal food, wine, and spirits, and protect them from imitation. The destruction of the beers “confirms the importance that the European Union attaches to designations of origin,” said Charles Goemaere, the managing director of the Comité Champagne.
Molson Coors Beverage Co. said it “respects local restrictions” around the word Champagne but remains proud of Miller High Life, its nickname, and its Milwaukee, Wisconsin provenance. The company invites friends in Europe to the US any time to toast the High Life together. The destruction of the cans was paid for by the Comité Champagne and was carried out with respect for environmental concerns by ensuring that the entire batch, both contents and container, was recycled in an environmentally responsible manner.
The guardians of Champagne will not let anyone take the name of the bubbly beverage in vain, not even a US beer behemoth. Belgian customs crushed the shipment at the request of the Comité Champagne, who claim the moniker infringes on the protected “Champagne” designation. The nickname used by the American brewery infringes the protected designation of origin “Champagne.” The consignment was intercepted in the Belgian port of Antwerp in early February and was destined for Germany. Molson Coors Beverage Co., which owns the Miller High Life brand, does not currently export it to the EU.