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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Photos or tap descriptions used in this blog may not be misrepresented as your own. Photos may not be used for financial gain whatsoever, as the uniqueness of the photo would unfairly associate a seller's product and reputation with this site. Tap descriptions may be used word for word as long as this blog is cited as the source, and a link is provided to this site.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Tap Handle #71: Miller Lite Cactus

This is a pretty cool tap...a beer bottle shaped as a cactus! I'm not sure what it was produced for - maybe some event or regional production in Arizona?

Miller Brewing was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1855 by Frederick J. Miller. He purchased the small Plank-Road Brewery for $2300. Using a unique brewers yeast that he brought over from Germany, he began to develop his recipes, as he was already a renowned brewer in Germany at the age 25 prior to immigrating to the U.S. In 1886 Miller was one of the first breweries to pasteurize its beer. Frederick Miller died of cancer in 1888 and the brewery passed on to his family. In 1903 the beer became known as Miller High Life, and the next year the brewery went fully automated for bottling, and sales skyrocketed. However, Prohibition soon hit and Miller was forced to survive on non-alcoholic products. The company remained in the family until 1966, when W. R. Grace bought a majority stake from Lorraine John Mulberger, Frederick Miller's granddaughter who objected to alcohol. It was sold again in 1969 to Philip Morris for $130 million, who outbid Pepsi to acquire Miller. In 1975 Miller launched Miller Lite, the first nationally-distributed low-calorie beer, which was such a success that in 2 years Miller went from 4th largest brewer to 2nd. Then in 2002 Miller changed hands once again, purchased by South African Breweries (SAB) for $5.6 billion, making it the 2nd largest in the world. In 2007, SABMiller and MolsonCoors join forces to become MillerCoors. Miller owns several recognizable brands such as Sharp's, Mickey's, Olde English 800, Milwaukee's Best, Hamm's, Icehouse, Red Dog, and Southpaw Light.

Miller Lite is a pale lager that was actually created in 1967 by biochemist working for New York's Reingold Brewery. He gave the recipe to one of Miller's competitors, Meister Brau, who dubbed it Meister Brau Light.  When Miller purchased Meister Brau, they converted the light beer to Miller Lite and heavily marketed it. Some of the ad campaigns are considered the best ever, including the "great taste...less filling" spots that were wildly popular. At one point in 1982 Lite had several ingredients not normally found in beer, like seaweed extract, corn syrup, chemically-altered hop extracts, amyloglucosidase, carbon dioxide, papain enzyme, liquid sugar, potassium metabisulfite, and Emka malt (a food coloring). Today Miller Lite is brewed to "exacting standards", and won a gold medal in 2010 at the Great American Beer Festival. Weighted average on is 1.36 out of 5, and Miller Lite appears on their "50 Worst Beers in the World" list.

Miller Lite Official Website

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