The following is a letter sent to Miller Brewing Company earlier this
month. Miller's response is at the end.
Miller Brewing Company
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201
Dear Sir or Madam,
I have been a drinker of Miller beers for many years (actually, ever
since that other company donated a big chunk of change to Handgun
Control Inc. back in the mid 80's).
Initially, my beer of choice was Lite, but some time in mid 1990 while
in Honduras I switched to MGD smuggled up from Panama. Now, for nearly
six years, I have been a faithful drinker of MGD.
For these past years, I have come to expect certain things from
Genuine Draft. I expect that whenever I see that gold can of MGD, I am
about ready to enjoy a great, smooth brew.
But wait! Sometime around the first of the year, my beloved MGD
changed colors, so to speak. That familiar gold can was no longer
Knowing that I am, by nature, somewhat resistant to change, I forced
myself to reserve judgment on the new can design.
Gradually, I grew to appreciate the new label.
That was until about May of this year. That was when I discovered
(empirically) that I really didn't like the new design. Further
investigation of the cause of my distress resulted in the following
1. Your cans are made of aluminum.
2. Aluminum is a great conductor of energy.
3. Your beer is commonly consumed outside, and thus, the container
may be exposed to sunlight. 4. Sunlight striking the can causes
radiant warming of the surface of the can. 5. The resultant heat
(energy) is transferred through the aluminum, by conduction, to the
contents of the can (the beer). 6. Warm beer sucks.
This is a process that can be observed in just about any beer.
However, this process is significantly accelerated in MGD because you
painted the damn can black!!!
Who was the rocket scientist that designed the new graphic for the can
and implemented the change right before summer? Granted, this process
may not be real evident up there in Wisconsin, but down here in
Oklahoma where the summers are both sunny and hot, this effect is
quite a problem. There's no telling what the folks in Texas and
Arizona are having to put up with.
Knowing that you would probably not address this issue unless you had
firm evidence of a problem, I and several other subjects conducted
extensive experimentation. The results of these experiments are
The experiments were conducted over two days on the deck next to my
pool. The study included seven different types of beer (leftovers from
a party the previous weekend) that were initially chilled to 38 (and
then left exposed to sunlight for different lengths of time. These
beers were sampled by the test subjects at different intervals. The
subjects, all normally MGD drinkers, were asked at each sampling
interval their impressions of the different beers. The length of time
between the initial exposure to sunlight and the point where the
subject determined the sample undrinkable (the Suckpoint) was
determined. The average ambient temperature for the trials was 95
Beer Type Average Suckpoint (min)
Miller Lite (white can) 6.2
Bud (white can) 5.5
Bud Lite (silver can) 5.2
Ice House (blue and silver can) 4.4
Coors Lite (silver can) 4.1
Miller Genuine Draft (black can) 2.8
Coors (gold can) 0.1
It was evident that the color of the can directly correlates to the
average suckpoint, except for Coors which was pretty much determined
to suck at any point.
It is to be hoped that you will consider re-designing your MGD cans.
All beer drinkers that are not smart enough to keep their beer in the
shade will thank you.
Dear Bradley Lee,
Thank you for your letter and your concern about the MGD can color as
it relates to premature warming of the contents. Like you, we at
Miller Beer take beer drinking very seriously. To that end, we have
taken your letter and subsequent experiment under serious
consideration. Outlined below are our findings and solution to your
problem. May we add that we have had similar letters from other loyal
beer drinkers, mostly from the Southern United States.
First, let us congratulate you on your findings. Our analysis tends
to agree with yours regarding Coors. It certainly does suck at about
Now, it was our intentions when redesigning the MGD can to create
better brand identity and brand loyalty. Someone in marketing did
some kind of research and determined we needed to redesign the can.
You will be pleased to know, we have fired that idiot and he is now
reeking havoc at a pro-gun control beer manufacturer. The design
staffer working in cahoots with the marketing idiot was also
However, once we realized this mistake, to undo it would have been
even a bigger mistake. So, we took some other actions. From our
market research, we found a difference between Northern beer drinker
and Southern beer drinkers.
Beer drinkers in the South tend to drink slower than beer drinkers in
the North. We are still researching why that is. Anyway, at Miller
Beer, it was never our intentions to have someone take more than 2.5
minutes to enjoy one of our beers. We pride ourselves in creating
fine, smooth, quick drinking beers and leave the making of sissy, slow
sipping beers to that Sam guy in Boston.
However, it is good to know that you feel our Miller Lite can last as
long as 6 minutes. However, may we suggest in the future you try
consuming at least two in that time frame.
>From your letter, we had our design staff work 'round the clock to
with a solution that would help not just MGD but all our fine Miller
products. We hope you have recently noticed our solution to your
problem. We found that the hole in the top of the can was not big
enough for quick consumption. So, we have now introduced the new "Wide
Mouth" cans. We hope this will solve all your problems. Might I also
suggest that if you want to get the beer out of the can even faster,
you can poke a hole on the side near the bottom, hold your finger over
it, open the can, tip it to your mouth and then pull your finger off
the hole. This is a common way to drink beer at parties and impress
your friends. This technique is known as "shot- gunning". You should
like the name.
Again, thank you for your letter and bring to our attention that there
might be other beer drinkers taking more that 2.5 minutes to drink our
beers. Let me assure you that I am have our advertising department
work on campaign to solve this problem, too.
Tom B. Miller
Miller Brewing Co.
P.S. And remember, at Miller Beer we do favor gun control, too. So
please use two hands when firing.
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