Thousands of cans of Miller High Life beer were destroyed by customs authorities in Belgium over the American brew’s tagline — “The Champagne of Beers.”
The shipment of 2,352 cans, or 196 12-packs, was intercepted in the Belgian port of Antwerp in February. Miller maker Molson Coors does not export the product to the member countries of the European Union, and the German recipient of the private shipment of beer did not contest the seizure and destruction orders.
The beers were busted open and drained on Monday.
The line, European officials contend, violates protections on “Champagne”, which by law is only allowed to be used as a name for sparkling, bubbly wines made using traditional methods in the French region of Champagne.
Wine is serious business in the European Union; the booze has a $43.5 billion market evaluation.
“This destruction is the result of a successful collaboration between Belgian customs authorities and the Comité Champagne. It confirms the importance that the European Union attaches to designations of origin and rewards the determination of the Champagne producers to protect their designation,” Charles Goemaere, managing director of the Comité Champagne trade group, said in a statement.
The industry group, which called Miller High Life “beer cans abusively bearing the designation Champagne” in the title of a press release, paid for the termination of the beer cans.
Miller High Life’s American manufacturers have no plans to stop using the slogan.
“With its elegant, clear-glass bottle and crisp taste, Miller High Life has proudly worn the nickname ‘The Champagne of Beers’ for almost 120 years. … We invite our friends in Europe to the U.S. any time to toast the High Life together,” Molson Coors told the Associated Press.