Miller Brewing Company (SABMiller)

Update: SABMiller and Molson Coors are combining their U.S. operations into MillerCoors. Recent new products include:

Charles Best (see Pabst) opened the Plank Road Brewery in 1850. Frederick Miller purchased the brewery in 1853, but the name remained until Frederick Miller's death in 1888. The last Miller family stock was purchased by Philip Morris in 1969 [Apps]. Philip Morris sold Miller to South African Breweries in 2002, turning the second-largest U.S. brewer into part of the second-largest worldwide brewer, now called SABMiller plc.

There are corporate web sites for Miller Brewing and SABMiller, and a website for the Eden, NC brewery in addition to the typical advertising site.


(and Draft, Special Light). Acquired from Pabst in 1998 when they bought Strohs.

High Life. WWW.

Since 1906. Also High Life Light, High Life Ice.

Leinenkugel's. [****]. WWW.

``Made with Chippewa Water from the Big Eddy Springs.''
Made, surprisingly enough, by the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. An excellent choice for a cheap lager. In addition to the classic deposit-bottle choice, other varieties have included:

There was also a line of baseball-named beers served at the brewery in Phoenix.

Jacob Leinenkugel's father and brothers operated a brewery in Sauk City. In 1867, Leinenkugel and John Miller opened the Spring Brewery in Chippewa Falls. Miller sold his interest in 1883, and the company continued under a string of Leinenkugel family members until it was sold to Miller. From the beginning of Prohibition until the end of World War II, Leinenkugel produced near beer and soda [Kroll].

Since being purchased by Miller in 1988, their production has been increased, but the beer is still good, and family members are still involved with the company.

Lite. [?], WWW.

Originally Meister Bräu Lite. Priscilla Estes explains this history of light beer at

Olde English 800.

I don't normally write a lot about malt liquors. There's an ice and a fruit flavored product. Acquired from Pabst in 1998 when they bought Strohs.


Yet another malt liquor.

Meister Bräu.

Acquired with the Peter Hand Brewing Company in Chicago. I'm not actually still they still make this.

Mickey's. WWW.

Originated at the Sterling Brewery in Evansville, Indiana, this brand made it to Heileman, then Stroh, then Miller, while the Sterling brand is now in the hands of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. Marked by the green wide-mouth barrel-shaped bottle more than by it's taste, but not bad by cheap standards. Of course, there's a Mickey's Ice.

Miller Genuine Draft. [*]. WWW.

Not the world's best selling beer, but probably the world's most-advertised beer. There's an MGD Light, but I'm not really sure the difference from Lite.

Milwaukee's Best. [?].

In 1855, George Schweickhart purchased the beginnings of a brewery in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, after both of its founders died of cholera and named it the Menomonee Brewing Co. In 1874, Schweickhart sold the brewery to C. Schuckerman who later sold to Adam Gettelman, who was married to Schweickhart's daughter. The brewery became the A. Gettelman Brewing Co. in 1887. After prohibition, the brewery continued until it was purchased by Miller in 1971. Well-known brands included Milwaukee's Best, Milwaukee Lager, $1000 Natural Process (named after Gettelman's cash offer to anyone who could prove his beer had ingredients other than malt and hops), Rathskeller Brew, 5 O'Clock, University Club, and Stein Brew [Apps 206-207].

Also Milwaukee's Best Light and Milwaukee's Best Ice.

The Plank Road Brewery label produces up-market low-taste beers:
Icehouse. [?]. WWW.

Not much to say.

Red Dog. WWW.

Another up-market product from Plank Road, reportedly first sold by Molson in Canada. Onalaska Brewing Co., makers of Red Dawg, may been negotiating with Miller for use of the name, but ended up making a strange A-B deal to protect themselves. Coincidentally, Busch cashed in on the trend in Red-named beers with both Red Wolf and Elk Mountain Red.

Southpaw Light.



Henry Weinhard's. WWW.

Originally the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Co. of Portland, OR. There's more history in the Celebrator. I think the brewery is now a mall or condos of something. Blitz-Weinhard was alright, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve and the Boar's Head Red are quite good, but the Blue Boar Ale is too watery for my tastes. They also made a Dark, a Light, an Ice, a Wheat bear, and probably some other stuff (for example, H.W.'s Root Beer), and a fairly icky Hazelnut stout.

The recent ownership history is a bit circular: sold to Pabst in 1979, Pabst sold to Heileman in 1983 (but kept the Old English brand), sold with everything else to Stroh in 1996, sold to Miller in 1999 as part of Pabst's aquisition of Stroh.

More recent update (see the press release): Full Sail is producing three of Henry's products in Oregon for Miller, the Hefeweizen, Northwest Trail Blonde Lager, and Amber Light.

To complete the catalog, Miller imports Foster's, Grolsch, Peroni, Sheaf Stout, Pilsner Urquell, Presidente, Shanghai, and others into the U.S. (some are made elsewhere by SABMiller). They make kiddie-style flavored alcholic beverages: SKYY Blue. SABMiller makes and distributes an awful lot of different labels worldwide.

Former Beers

Celis. [****]+. WWW.

Miller bought a major share of this Texas brewery in 1995 -- more information at Southern Draft Beer News and the Celebrator Beer News. In 2000, Miller bought out the brewery, and soon shut it down, but sold the equipment and brands to the Michigan Brewing Company.


First imported, then made by Miller in the 1980's. Now imported again.

Miller. [?]-.

New in 1995 or so, a triumph of recent brewing. Ignore the ``full body'' talk in the advertising -- Miller has succeeded in producing a beer with less taste than seltzer water. Didn't last very long.

Northstone Amber [**].

More of an attempt to appeal to the micro-market than the earlier Plank Road beers, this June 1996 introduction has a noticeable aromatic hoppiness, but regrettably little malt character. Quite possibly all malt. Northstone compares well with many of the cheap beer standards like Augsburger or Berghoff, but isn't worth the extra money.

Shipyard. WWW.

A Portland, Maine microbrewery, purchased in 1995 and sold back in 2000.

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Thomas Insel /