Throwback Thursday: Holiday Season at Miller Brewery

The Miller Brewing Company, one of the predecessors to MillerCoors, played an important role in community celebration of the holidays.

RS 1966 East across State-MillerCoors Milwaukee Archives

In Milwaukee, the Brewery is located along State Street, a busy arterial west of the downtown area. Before entering Miller Valley from the east, a driver sees Brewery buildings on both sides of the street, and on the hill above the south side. In addition, there’s a replica front of Frederick Miller’s original Plank Road Brewery on the hillside. The old Miller Caves are located below the replica front, and the Miller Inn is next door to provide hospitality to visitors.

RS 1968 Postcard- F House- MillerCoors Milwaukee Archives

This setting was the venue for holiday lighting ceremonies during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and this year, too. Often State Street would be closed, allowing crowds to gather. Throwing the switch turned on all the lights in the Valley—a dramatic moment!

RS 1972 Choir- MillerCoors Milwaukee Archives

Some of the past (and recent) holiday tree lighting events were big spectacles. In 1968, 2,000 people turned out to hear the 200-voice Bel Canto Chorus and community Christmas carols conducted by Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier. Christmas carol books were supplied, and Santa Claus had candy for the children.

RS 1955 Miller Christmas card- MillerCoors Milwaukee Archives

The Miller Christmas holiday theme has appeared beyond Milwaukee. The 1946 Miller High Life print ad with the barn and sleigh is a classic. Miller’s 1955 Christmas card features the replica Plank Road Brewery, as it was new that year. With these impressions, Miller’s holiday spirit could travel a long way.

RSc. 1946 MHL Holidays ad- MillerCoors Milwaukee Archives