Wednesday, June 1, 2011

miller brewery tour

When Michael took a trip to Milwaukee a few years ago (the trip that I wasn't allowed on), he called me from the road, excited about the "educational" video that Miller played at the start of their brewery tour.  Miller didn't take itself too seriously: they had some cavemen talking about how "from the dawn of time, Man has yearned for Miller Time" and then proceeded to play a bunch of fun Miller commercials from the past. Michael said it was awesome in a non-corporate sort of way.

I was definitely looking forward to that video when we journeyed to the Miller Factory during our trip to Milwaukee. Unfortunately, MillerCoors has become much more corporate since the last visit. The new video they have features a bad actor playing the founder, Frederick Miller, and speaking in a silly German accent. We encountered Frederick Miller again in the beer cave. Tragic, really. The other thing that Miller really, REALLY stressed on the tour was how green they are now and how much they give back to their community, don't waste water, and make awesome beer.

I'm sorry, but Miller didn't really seem to help the community directly around the factory. Michael and I were driving around not five minutes away from the factory looking for some breakfast, and the community looked awful. Rundown, poor, not a lot of local business. Maybe we missed the main downtown of Menomonee Valley, but they could have done something to give the local community some more business. Have the workers go to a nearby restaurant for lunch? Have some local stores? Anything to bring some money to the community!

Another gripe that I had was the beer at the end of the tour. Now, I've been to my fair share of brewery tours, and it's a perfect opportunity to try to sway those who don't drink your beer, or are on the fence.  The Budweiser and even the Bud Light at the Anheuser-Busch Factory tastes pretty amazing. It's so fresh, fizzy, cold, crisp, and refreshing...It almost makes me want to go out and buy some Budweiser for the fridge. Almost. Miller... oh goodness. We had Miller Light and MG64 along with Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy. They were all watered down -- especially the Shandy. And I couldn't even tell the difference between the Miller Light and the MG64. They both tasted like watery gross beer.

And the biggest gripe I have? Of course it is about bottle caps. You can't buy bottle caps in the gift store! You know what you can buy? Bottle cap earrings. Sigh. Miller, when will you learn?

Luckily, Michael and I also love a good thrift store (aka junk store) and there was a great one in downtown Milwaukee. Second Street Antiques had a little bit of everything. I found some cork-lined Miller Girl in the Moon caps, as well as a few others, so all was not lost..... stay tuned!

See below for some additional pictures from the Milwaukee Brewery Tour.  Despite the gripes, it was kind of fun.

Oh my goodness. It is where the bottle caps go! 
The High Life Bus! 

My MG64. I don't think I had more than 1 sip. So sad.

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