- Miller Lite is releasing a limited-edition can to honor America’s first documented female brewer, according to a press release. The release is timed to coincide with the Fourth of July.
- The name Mary Lisle will replace the traditional Miller Lite logo in the same font. Instead of “A Fine Pilsner Beer” surrounding the Miller Lite crest, copy will read: “There’s No Beer Without Women.” The back of the can features Lisle’s portrait.
- The Molson Coors brand will raffle off the cans, giving the company an opportunity to collect first-party data on its consumers, an increasingly important step as advertisers prepare for the depreciation of third-party cookies. Additionally, the initiative comes after a slew of brands traditionally associated with men take greater steps to reach out to women.
The beer industry has long objectified and sidelined women. Beer was, and often still is, portrayed as a man’s drink. Miller Lite has been a culprit in this. One advertisement from 2003 shows two women arguing over why they drink Miller Lite, culminating in a fight where they rip each other’s wet clothing off. At the end of the commercial, it’s revealed to be a fantasy shared by two men drinking Miller Lite at a bar, with disgusted looking women watching them talk the scenario out.
But times are changing. Beer is slowly losing its grip on the American public in favor of other drinks such as hard seltzer and canned cocktails. To remain competitive, beer makers have to make an effort to reach out to consumers it traditionally shunned.
Highlighting figures like Lisle can be seen as an olive branch. The company is also donating $5 from each case sold on Instacart and Drizly over the holiday weekend to the Pink Boots Society, which aims to support female brewers. The initiative positions Miller Lite in a more progressive light, which could help it reach younger consumers. Only 3% of legal-aged drinkers knew women helped bring beer to America, according to Miller Lite polling. However, Native Americans of the Southwest were brewing corn beer long before the arrival of European settlers.
“Women have been written out of brewing history in America, and we want to remind people during the biggest beer-drinking weekend of the year that without women, there’s no beer,” said Kelsey Ott, associate marketing manager for Miller Lite in a press statement. “Mary Lisle is the first documented brewer in American history, but it took 100 years to record her name. There were countless women who came before her and played an incredibly important role in brewing beer in America.”
Miller Lite’s packaging play around the Fourth of July could be read as a counter to rival AB InBev. Budweiser has been selling “Freedom” cans this season that square with how it usually markets its product around the key holiday for beer-drinking and barbecues. The tactic has received greater scrutiny as “rah-rah” patriotism and concepts like freedom take on more loaded connotations in a divided America, as reported in Ad Age.
Miller Lite will publicly unveil the cans on June 30 during a special event in Philadelphia, where Lisle operated a brewery owned by her father following his death in 1734. Visitors can learn more about Lisle’s contributions to U.S. beer history, while those unable to attend can enter the raffle to try and secure one of the limited-run products.
Miller Lite is far from the only brand to try to better recognize women. Cracker Jack recently unveiled “Cracker Jill” to honor women in sports. Like the Miller Lite cans, the Cracker Jill bags were limited edition and support a foundation. The Glenlivet, a scotch whisky owned by Pernod Ricard, recently released an Australian-centric campaign featuring Anna Paquin promoting scotch whisky as “not just a man's drink.” This campaign, along with a Google Images activation, seeks to expand whiskey beyond its stereotypical positioning.