When Miller Lite first hit the market in the early 1970s, it sent shockwaves through the American beer industry.
It was the era of fad diets, before the boom of craft beer, and a lower-calorie alternative to the American staples of Bud, Coors, and Miller was just what the “Me” generation was looking for.
Miller Lite remains a top-selling beer to this day, and even if it is your standby, we bet that there’s a lot you didn’t know about it.
1. It was originally named Gablinger’s diet beer
The formula was originally developed by a biochemist named Joseph Owades, who worked for New York’s Rheingold Brewery in 1967. The formula was then given to Chicago-based Meister Brau in 1979. They released it as Meister Brau Lite before selling its labels to Miller in 1972.
2. It succeeded because of advertising
Both Gablinger’s and Meister Brau’s beers failed, even though they were essentially the same exact beer as Miller Lite. Miller Lite largely owes its success to its commercials, which featured its legendary motto (“Great Taste… Less Filling!”) and professional athletes including Bubba Smith, Joe Frazier, and Billy Martin.
3. It’s almost identical to Guinness, alcohol- and calorie-wise
Guinness and Miller Lite both have the same amount of alcohol: 4.2 percent. Miller Lite contains 96 calories per 12-ounce serving; Guinness contains 125.
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4. 3 new varieties were released in 2008
To capitalize on the craft beer movement, Miller released three new Lite formulas in 2008: an amber, a blonde ale, and a wheat beer. Called the Miller Lite Brewers Collection, it didn’t stick around for very long.
5. You can thank ‘Anchorman’ for its throwback label
Miller Lite reverted back to its original “Lite” label in late 2013 as part of the marketing campaign for "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," in which the beer was prominently featured. Sales for the beer soared, however, so the company decided to bring back the retro label full time. Some consumers even thought that the old label made the beer taste better.