Miller Confirms Anheuser-Busch Moves to Block Miller Ads Claiming 'Bud Light Changed'

Nov 15, 2005, 00:00 ET from Miller Brewing Company

    MILWAUKEE, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Miller Brewing Company confirmed that
 rival Anheuser-Busch has contacted several cable television networks to
 request that they cease running new Miller ads pointing out that, despite a
 change in Bud Light, Miller Lite still has more taste.
     In response to the A-B request, several cable networks have temporarily
 placed the spots on hold, while asking Miller to provide substantiation for
 the claim expressed in the ads.  Miller is currently providing the requested
 substantiation to these networks.  A number of cable stations continue to run
 the ads.
     Miller Lite is the fastest growing beer in America over the past two
 years.(1)  Much of the brand's momentum is driven by its powerful claim that
 "Miller Lite has more taste than Bud Light and half the carbs." While
 Anheuser-Busch has frequently challenged Miller Lite advertising with the
 networks and regulators, the Miller taste claim has been upheld previously by
 the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
     As part of its efforts to protect the claim, Miller has constantly
 monitored the product attributes of Bud Light.  After observing statistically
 significant increases in both the bitterness units and carbonation levels of
 Bud Light, Miller moved quickly to conduct a new, independent taste comparison
 between Miller Lite and Bud Light.  This new test confirms that Miller Lite
 still has more taste than Bud Light, despite the recent changes in Bud Light.
     Anheuser-Busch now maintains that any changes to Bud Light are the result
 of, "brewmasters constantly making small adjustments to address seasonal
 changes in raw ingredients."  Miller said the increase it observed in
 bitterness units was particularly noteworthy because it reverses a 15-year
 trend in which the bitterness units in Bud Light declined by almost half.
     "We didn't expect them to acknowledge that the change was in response to
 the success of Miller Lite," said Nehl Horton, Miller's Senior Vice President
 of Communications and Government Affairs.  "But we are surprised that they
 would maintain that no changes have occurred at all, given the broad and
 well-recognized trend in American light lagers over the past 15 years."
     Miller said its ads were designed to pre-empt any gradual change to Bud
 Light that might ultimately enable Anheuser-Busch to successfully refute the
 Miller claim.
     "We believe our taste claim is a significant advantage for Miller Lite and
 we will be very proactive in protecting our claim," Horton said.
     About Miller Brewing Company:
     Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Company is the oldest major brewer in
 America, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2005.  Miller is a wholly owned
 subsidiary of SABMiller plc, one of the world's largest brewers.  Miller's
 principal beer brands are Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, and Miller High
 Life.  The company imports Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Foster's
 and has craft brews Leinenkugel's and Henry Weinhard's.  Its portfolio of
 brands also includes Milwaukee's Best and Sharp's, a non-alcohol brew.  Miller
 produces Icehouse from the Plank Road Brewery, a small division of Miller;
 Olde English 800; and Mickey's Malt Liquor.  More information about Miller
 Brewing Company is available at the company's corporate web site, .
     (1) AC Nielsen, Total US Supermarket Data 104 weeks ending 10/18/05

SOURCE Miller Brewing Company