People Really Think Miller Lite In Vintage-Style Cans Tastes Better

Logic tells us it’s impossible for the label on the outside of a container to affect how that product tastes. Human thought processes don’t always follow logic, though. That’s why sales of Miller Lite have increased after the company introduced 80’s-retro cans and bottles last year. They don’t just look cool: some consumers say that the old-school brews even taste better.

This makes no sense, but packaging is a big part of how our fallible brains perceive a product. Ryan Reis, the executive in charge of Miller’s brands, told Bloomberg Businessweek that people keep telling him that the beer tastes different. It doesn’t: it is exactly the same beer that you bought last year when it was in a blue can. The only difference is that the packaging itself is a throwback to the ’80s.

For many consumers, even those who weren’t of drinking age in the ’80s, the can itself brings back fond memories. (It reminds me of block parties during my childhood, when many of my neighbors worked for Miller until the nearby brewery closed, and got free cases as a job perk.) Consumers in the key beer-buying demographic, men ages 21 to 30 or so, may not remember this can design, but the aesthetic of the early ’80s is inexplicably cool again.

In fact, that’s how the redesign came about in the first place. Miller teamed up with the film “Anchorman 2,” and put Miller Lite in the old-school cans as part of a 10-week promotion. The film eventually went to DVD, but sales of Miller Lite increased, so the company stuck with the older design that worked, eventually building an ad campaign about how theirs was the first light beer on the market.


Now the company will expand the white-label branding to taps in bars and glass bottles of Miller Lite. That initial sales boost is now fading, but the company can now build their marketing around what was supposed to be a brief promo. “You’re welcome,” Ron Burgundy says.

Miller Lite Brings Back Its White Label, Possibly Also Its Mojo [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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