Miller High Life’s Champagne-sized bottles are back

Once again, the Champagne of Beers is getting dressed up for holiday celebrations.

For the second consecutive year, Miller High Life is launching nationwide in Champagne-sized, 750-milliliter bottles.

“Reception was so good across the country last year that it was a no-brainer to bring it back for 2019,” says Nigel Jones, marketing manager for the Miller family of brands. “The attention our distinctive Champagne bottle commands not only is a great marketing tool to boost brand equity, but it gets the Champagne of Beers into more holiday moments.”

The 2019 release of the specialty bottles comes after a successful 2018 in which they boosted the brand’s overall sales results in bars, restaurants, grocers and liquor stores across the country. Retailers that sold the Miller High Life Champagne bottles in 2018 reported a 4.9 percentage point lift in dollar sales versus stores that did not, with volume trends up in both on- and off-premise channels, Jones says. 

Redesigned for 2019, the collectible bottles are in their fourth year. They debuted in Chicago in 2016 and rolled out for a two-market test in Chicago and Milwaukee in 2017 before going broadly last year. With necks wrapped in gold foil sealed the Girl in the Moon logo, the heavy-gauge bottles have a long, narrow neck and broad shoulders embossed with “The Champagne of Beers” in raised glass letters. The primary badge on this year’s version is more reminiscent of Miller High Life 12-ounce bottles with a slight diagonal orientation framed in gold and green.

The bottles have helped the brand elbow its way into more floor displays, with the 25.4-ounce bottles flanking displays of 12-packs of 12-ounce bottles, the brand’s top-selling pack.

The overarching goal is to help get more High Life in front of consumers at a time when wine and spirits tend to dominate floor displays. “Even though beer remains the top-selling category over the holiday season, wine and spirits have an outsized influence at retail,” Jones says. “Our Champagne bottle program opens that door and gets us on the floor during a time of year when we weren’t really getting there before.”

Miller High Life, which turns 116 on Dec. 30, also is making a push for top bar and restaurant accounts to use the large-format bottles in holiday and New Year’s Eve celebrations, where it’s perfect to share during a toast, Jones says. On top of that, on-premise venues are critical in attracting and introducing younger legal-age drinkers to the beer, a key priority for the brand in an ever-crowded beer landscape.

Miller High Life also will send select bars and restaurants branded Champagne coupe glassware that can used for building Champagne of Beers towers, adding a bit of retail theater to celebrations.

“Most drinkers know what High Life is and what we stand for, but we need to let them know why we’re special,” Jones says. “This is one way in that gets people talking about us again.”

The brand will support the campaign with public relations outreach, a social media influencer campaign and digital advertising.

Like last year, the bottles are expected to retail for between $2.99 and $3.99 in the off-premise, with higher prices in bars and restaurants. Also like last year, don’t expect supplies to last for long, Jones says.

“People are pumped when they see them, and it makes them want to go out and buy a couple,” he says. “As soon as these bottles start hitting the floor, we see a ton of excitement and a flood of photos on social media. The rule of thumb is that if you see it once, jump on it because it tends to sell out quickly.”