Miller Lite is going retro. The brand, which launched in 1975 as the first successful mainstream light beer, will be packaged in its original can design from Jan. 1 to March 15.
"This is the first of a series of initiatives that will help us reinforce why Miller Lite is the perfect and only beer for Miller Time," MillerCoors said in a memo to distributors this week. The brewer said 98% of Miller Lite cans will be converted under the program, which will cover 12-ounce, 16-ounce and 24-ounce varieties.
The news was first reported by beer trade publication Beer Business Daily.
The move comes as big lite beer brands search for new ways to break through with consumers, who are increasingly turning to craft beers and spirits. But even as they experience some share loss, light beers still dominate the beer category. The nation's largest beer brand is Bud Light, with 18.6% share at the end of last year, followed by Coors Light (8.7%), according to Beer Marketer's Insights. Miller Lite ranks fourth at 6.9% share, but the brand has been in a prolonged slump.
The retro cans could help the brand recapture some buzz from its glory days, when the brew's debut took the beer world by storm.
Miller Brewing Co. obtained the "Lite" trademark in 1972 when then-parent company Philip Morris bought Chicago's MeisterBrau brewery. The brand convinced drinkers to try the lower-calorie brew with the legendary "Tastes great, less filling" campaign, created by McCann-Erickson. Ad Age ranked it as the 8th-best campaign of the 20th Century. Lite advertising is currently handled by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.