Thousands Of Miller High Life Bottles Were Destroyed For Not Being Champagne-Enough

Those familiar with beer are already aware that Miller High Life is known as the "Champagne of Beers," meant to be classy and elegant in its clear, glass bottle. Likewise, we all know that Miller High Life is not actually champagne, nor is it trying to be champagne.

However, Belgian customs officials recently decided the beverage fell under a category of copyright infringement. According to the Comite Champagne, more than 2,000 cans of Miller High Life were destroyed while attempting to pass through to Germany. The Comite Champagne further referred to the beverage as "counterfeit," based on European rules regarding "protected designations."

As you might have pieced together, all this boils down to the bottles including the word "champagne" on them, while not actually containing champagne. Unlike in the U.S., where companies can get away with using whatever words on packaged foods they'd like, European countries take this much more seriously.

France takes offense at Miller High Life's champagne claims

Upon arriving at Belgian customs on April 17, the Miller High Life cans were deemed a "violation of France's protected designation of origin for Champagne," per Food & Wine. Although the PDO for Champagne dates back to 1891, it still holds strong today as a form of quality assurance.

Jurist explains that European regulations protect agricultural goods "bearing registered geographical indications" and "certain specific characteristics." In other words, these regulations ensure that any product labeled with 'Champagne' is indeed champagne from the region of Champagne. They don't want just any product using their name, and rightfully so.

That being said, you might have noticed that California produces champagne as well, somehow dodging France's PDO. As it turns out, an agreement of sorts regarding champagne was included in the Treaty of Versailles, according to Vine Pair, and the U.S. signed it but never ratified the treaty. A later agreement allowed the U.S. to continue using 'Champagne' in existing product names, like Miller High Life, the "Champagne of Beers."