Belgian officials destroyed more than 2,000 cans of Miller High Life because the “Champagne of Beers” is not, in fact, champagne, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The beer, which was going to Germany, represented a “violation of the protected designation of origin”, according to a statement from the Comité Champagne.
The Comité Champagne is the “inter-professional body” in charge of protecting the champagne houses and producers in the north-east of France.
“This destruction … confirms the importance the European Union attaches to appellations of origin and rewards the determination of champagne producers to protect their appellation,” Charles Goemaere, director general of the Comité Champagne, said in a statement.
The ill-fated cans of American beer emblazoned with its century-old slogan, “The Champagne of Beers,” ended up in a port in Antwerp, where they were intercepted by customs authorities. The company Westlandia of Yrpres carried out the solemn task.
There the cans were dumped without ceremony. To add insult to injury, the cans were crushed.
The Champagne Committee assured all stakeholders that the destruction of the foam has been carried out “with the utmost respect for environmental concerns, ensuring that the entire batch, both content and container, was recycled from an environmentally responsible way”.
“Of course, we respect local restrictions around the word ‘champagne,'” Molson Coors Beverage Company, which acquired Miller Brewing Company in 2016, told the Washington Post.
“But we’re proud of Miller High Life, its moniker and its roots in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” the company also said. “We invite our friends from Europe to the United States anytime to toast the High Life together.”
In its statement, the Champagne Committee noted that the unnamed intended recipient of the shipment “was informed and did not contest the decision.”
Thanks to the Comité Champagne and the actions of the Belgian customs authorities, no German was tricked into drinking Miller High Life, mistakenly believing it to be champagne. Also, the “Champagne” designation will not be tarnished by a lager intruder.
Even if you have time and Miller High Life has the beer, you won’t enjoy it in Europe while the Comité Champagne has a say in the matter.
Watch News Center Maine’s coverage of Belgium’s decision to crush 2,352 cans of Miller High Life beer below.
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