By LaKeshia N. Myers
Growing up in Milwaukee, Miller beer was everywhere. On billboards, on tv, and on all sorts of promotional materials. Miller was the beer of Wisconsin, and it was based in Milwaukee, a hometown product that we were very proud of. That sense of pride has been waning over the past few years, because today, Miller (now MolsonCoors) seems like just a name on a building more than an iconic Milwaukee brand.
I was deeply disturbed by the announcement that Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser would be the main beer sponsor of the Fiserv Forum. MolsonCoors headquarters is literally blocks away from the Forum—they didn’t want to fight for exclusivity inside the Bucks arena? It makes no sense. Where is the sense of hometown pride and loyalty to the home team? But this isn’t the first time Miller/ MolsonCoors has broken my heart, I was distraught that the baseball stadium is no longer called “Miller Park”—even though I, and many Milwaukeeans still refer to it as such. Was there nothing that could’ve been done to have Molson outbid American Family Insurance? Could they share in some way—keep the name Miller Park and name the field AmFam Field?
Ever since Miller was sold to a South African Breweries in 1997, and with every subsequent acquisition, there seems to have been a decrease in Miller’s branding within the state. Fewer TV commercials, especially during high profile events like the Superbowl and fewer sponsorships for community engagement events such as African World Festival and The Milwaukee Urban League’s Black and White Ball.
Miller beer is a staple in Milwaukee and part of our city’s identity, but I wonder if and how our hometown brew will stack up as we continue to grow in the future. That is something the MolsonCoors executives need to think about— because Milwaukee must be a central piece of the puzzle moving forward.