Miller Lite
The official Miller Lite logo
Miller Lite logo
TypePilsner-style light American lager
ManufacturerMiller Brewing Company
Introduced1975; 49 years ago (1975)
Alcohol by volume 4.2%[1]
Miller Lite
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy113 kJ (27 kcal)
Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults.[2]

Miller Lite is a 4.2% ABV light American lager beer sold by Molson Coors (previously MillerCoors) of Chicago, Illinois.[1][3] It was first produced in 1975. The company also produces Miller Genuine Draft and Miller High Life. Miller Lite competes mainly with Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light. Miller Lite is the official beer sponsor of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, and Bellator MMA.[4][5][6][7][8]


Calorie-reduced light beer was first introduced to the market by New York's Rheingold Brewery as "Gablinger's Diet Beer", brewed using a process developed in 1964 by chemist Hersch Gablinger of Basel, Switzerland.[9][10] The version that evolved into Miller Lite had its origins in a recipe developed in 1967 by Joseph L. Owades, PhD, a biochemist working for Rheingold.[11] Next, the recipe was offered by Owades to Chicago's Peter Hand Brewing.[12] That year, Peter Hand Brewing was purchased by a group of investors, renamed Meister Brau Brewing, and Lite was soon introduced as Meister Brau Lite, a companion to their flagship Meister Brau. Under the new management, Meister Brau Brewing encountered significant financial problems, and in 1972, sold several of its existing labels to Miller. The recipe was relaunched simply as "Lite" on packaging and in advertising (with "Lite Beer from Miller" being its "official" name until the late '90s) in the test markets of Springfield, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; Knoxville, Tennessee; and San Diego, California,[13] in 1973, and heavily marketed using masculine pro sports players and other "macho" figures of the day in an effort to sell to the key beer-drinking male demographic. Miller Lite was introduced nationally in 1975.[14] and became the first successful mainstream light beer in the United States.[15]

Miller's youth-oriented, heavy-advertising approach worked where the two previous light beers had failed, and Miller's early production totals of 12.8 million barrels quickly increased to 24.2 million barrels by 1977 as Miller rose to 2nd place in the American brewing marketplace. Other brewers responded, in particular Anheuser-Busch with its heavily advertised Bud Light in 1982, which eventually overtook Lite in sales by 1994. Anheuser-Busch played on the branding style of "Lite", boasting that next to Bud Light "everything else is just a light". In 1992, light beers became the biggest domestic beer in America, and in 1998, Miller relabeled its "Lite" brand as "Miller Lite".[16]

In 2008, Miller Brewing Company test-marketed three new recipes – an amber, a blonde ale, and a wheat – under the Miller Lite brand, marketed as Miller Lite Brewers Collection.[17]

At the 2010 and 2014 Great American Beer Festival, Miller Lite won the gold medal for Best American Style Lager or Light Lager, besting Miller Genuine Draft.[citation needed] The beer ranked #1 on the list of top 100 beers by the Cold Cans podcast.[18]



The Miller Lite logo, 2003-2014.

Miller Lite's long-running "Tastes Great!...Less Filling!" advertising campaign was ranked by Advertising Age magazine as the eighth best advertising campaign in history. The campaign was developed by the McCann-Erickson Worldwide advertising agency.[19] In the prime of the campaign, television commercials typically portrayed a Lite Beer drinker noting its great taste followed by another who observed that it was less filling. This usually led to a parody of Wild West saloon fights in which every patron got involved in the dispute for no real reason, though in this case it was always a shouting match, and blows were never thrown. The commercials were closed with a voice-over from actor Eddie Barth, who read the slogan, "Lite Beer from Miller: Everything you've always wanted in a beer. And less."[20]

The then-recently retired New York Jets running back Matt Snell was the first person to appear in Miller Lite's first commercial in 1973.[citation needed]

To attract 'Joe Sixpack' to a light beer, these commercials started to feature both elite ex-athletes such as Ray Nitschke, Ben Davidson, and Bubba Smith but also oddball cultural figures such as Mickey Spillane (accompanied by a blonde, Lee Meredith, who is better known for her role as Ulla, the secretary in The Producers), and comedian Rodney Dangerfield. As the series of commercials went on, it began featuring athletes and celebrities of all sorts. Some commercials from this era include:

A delivery truck bearing Miller Lite's iconic "Tastes great. Less filling." slogan

As the popularity of the ads and the number of athletes and celebrities that appeared in them grew, Miller produced occasional "alumni" ads featuring all of the stars, generally in some sort of competition between the 'Less Fillings' and the 'Taste Greats'. The ads usually ended with Rodney Dangerfield somehow being the goat of the losing team. In one of the last spots to feature Dangerfield, the Miller Lite alumni are competing in a bowling match. It is the last frame of a tie game, and Ben Davidson grumbles to Dangerfield, "All we need is one pin, Rodney." Dangerfield rolls the ball down the lane, only to have it bounce horizontally off the head pin and into the gutter, knocking down zero pins.

As part of this campaign, Miller Brewing ran a series of television commercials in the winter of 1993–1994 showing several fictitious "extreme sports" such as "Wiener Dog Drag Racing" (which featured two wiener dogs racing each other at a drag racing strip), "Sumo High Dive" (which depicted a Japanese sumo wrestler diving off a platform) and "The Miss Perfect Face-Off" (which featured beauty pageant contestants playing ice hockey). The tag line that followed was, "If you can combine great taste with less filling, you can combine anything." and the question "Can your beer do this?"

In 1995-1996, Miller Lite ran the "Life Is Good" campaign, which showed Miller Lite drinkers' aspirational transition to more fun via a Miller Lite bottle tap, like "Beach Rewind", where three men on a beach admired three beautiful women walking by, and could rewind, and enjoy, the scene repeatedly. The campaign was developed by Leo Burnett Company, and received the American Marketing Association EFFIE award for outstanding advertising effectiveness. The campaign included celebrities such as Larry Bird, Keith Jackson, and Richard Karn.[26]

Beginning January 12, 1997, a series of surrealistic Miller Lite ads, purportedly made by a man named "Dick", began to air. They were hallmarked as such either at the beginning or the end of the commercial. The campaign was developed by Minneapolis-based ad agency Fallon. The series of "Dick" commercials was directed by Gerald Casale of the new wave band Devo. Such commercials include one where a middle-aged man sees the message "twist to open" on a Miller Lite bottle cap, and he proceeds to do the Twist.[27]

The ad campaign changed back to using high-profile celebrities who were either on opposite ends of the spectrum or had bragging rights to exchange with the other, which leads to them arguing about whether Miller Lite was better because of how "smooth" it tastes, or because of "the choice hops". Notable pairings included the following:

In 2003, "Catfight", another high-profile commercial in the long-running "Great Taste...Less Filling" campaign, was denounced by critics as depicting women as sexual objects.[28] The commercial featured two beautiful young women, a blonde (Tanya Ballinger) and a brunette (Kitana Baker), discussing the classic "Great Taste/Less Filling" debate, except they engaged in a catfight, hence the ad's title. The fight moving from a fountain to a mud pit, with the girls stripping each other of their clothing in the process. An uncensored version of the commercial ended in the muddy beauties, stripped down to their underwear, sharing a passionate kiss. The girls received much publicity from the commercial, and later starred in a few related commercials, videos and events.

In 2006, Miller Lite had an advertising campaign called Man Laws featuring celebrities that include actor Burt Reynolds, professional wrestler Triple H, comedian Eddie Griffin, and former American football player Jerome Bettis. The celebrities and other actors were in a "Men of the Square Table", a group meeting where they discuss different situations that should be included in the "Man Laws". The ads were developed by the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky/Miami, and were directed by comedy film director Peter Farrelly.[29]

In June 2010, commercials premiered featuring actresses Lindsey McKeon and Nadine Heimann as bartenders.


In December 2013, as part of a product placement marketing campaign with the film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Miller reintroduced the 1974 navy-blue blackletter font "Lite" packaging on its 16-US-fluid-ounce (470 ml) cans for a limited time (the original 1972 cans used a light-blue script logo). However, the vintage packaging was such a success that by September 2014, the company decided to switch back to the vintage packaging full-time, including on bottles and tap handles, mirroring the unexpected success that PepsiCo had in 2009 with its Pepsi Throwback & Mountain Dew Throwback lines in tapping into the retro-themed packaging market. The unexpected sales increase, combined with wanting to differentiate the packaging from Bud Light, were factors in the decision, with some consumers even stating that Miller actually improved on the taste when nothing changed in the beer itself.[30][31]



The Miller Lite car in 2012. The car's then driver, Brad Keselowski, won the Sprint Cup Series title that year

Miller Brewing Company began their NASCAR sponsorship in 1983 with driver Bobby Allison, advertising the Miller High Life brand and later in 1990 with driver Rusty Wallace, advertising the Miller Genuine Draft brand. In 1997, the company began advertising the Miller Lite brand on Wallace's #2 Penske Racing car. The car later earned the nickname "Blue Deuce", due to its number and blue paint scheme. Wallace retired following the 2005 season, and Kurt Busch was named as his replacement. Busch drove the "Blue Deuce" from 2006 to 2010. The car was driven by Brad Keselowski, who won the 2012 Sprint Cup Series championship. Miller Brewing has since dropped the sponsorship from the #2 car, with the last sponsorship occurring during the 2020 Coca-Cola 600 and was replaced by Molson Coors' sister company Keystone Light since 2021.[32]

Other promotion in motorsport included the sponsoring of Don Prudhomme's Larry Dixon-driven NHRA top fuel dragster from 1997 to 2007. Prior to that, Dixon was sponsored by Miller Genuine Draft. Additionally, Miller Brewing sponsored the Unlimited hydroplane of R.B. "Bob" Taylor in 1984 with the U-7 "Lite All-Star", driven by Tom D'Eath. The following year, Miller switched teams and brands with the "Miller American" Unlimited hydroplane owned by Fran Muncey and Jim Lucero—which resulted in the 1985 National Championship, and APBA Gold Cup wins in 1985, 1986, and 1987, driven by Chip Hanauer.

For the first time in a video game, it was featured in NASCAR '15: Victory Edition and NASCAR Heat Evolution as a sponsor available to users verified to be over 21 years of age.


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  5. ^ Docter, Cary (July 17, 2012). "Packers, MillerCoors extend partnership with ten-year deal". Fox 6.
  6. ^ Nishimura, Scott (May 27, 2008). "Miller Beer continues run as exclusive Dallas Cowboys beer sponsor". Star-Telegram.
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  15. ^ Walker, Rob (December 29, 2002). "THE LIVES THEY LIVED; Let There Be Lite". The New York Times. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  16. ^ Master, The Brew Zen. "Lite vs. Light: Is There a Difference? - Brew Zen Master - Beer". Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  17. ^ Official Miller Lite Brewers Collection website Archived 2008-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Cold Cans
  19. ^ "TOP 100 ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS." Archived December 18, 2005, at the Wayback Machine Advertising Age. Accessed on July 2, 2006
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  31. ^ People Really Think Miller Lite In Vintage-Style Cans Tastes Better Consumerist (09/02/2014)
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