The bitter battle between Miller and A-B

November 18th, 2005 | Posted by Real Beer

We can’t really call the latest round of commercials from Miller Brewing, the “Great Taste Trial,” much ado about nothing because there’s all kind of advertising money involved, they’ll be seen by millions and they’ve generated plenty of additional publicity.

However, as our old editor liked to ask: Is there a story here?

Basically Miller claims Bud Light increased its bitterness by nearly 11% this year, reversing steady declines of bitterness over the last 15 years. Light beers in general, including Miller Lite, have decreased their bitterness. Miller also says Bud Light’s carbonation level rose this year by about 4%.

Now the St. Louis Post-Disptach asks beer experts if drinkers can taste changes that were measured in laboratories.

“It seems they want to make something out of nothing,” said Michael Lewis, professor emeritus of brewing science at the University of California at Davis.

Brewers constantly tweak their recipes.

“Beer is a natural product, and agricultural products shift from year to year, much less generation to generation,” said Keith Lemcke, vice president of Chicago-based Siebel Institute of Technology, which trains brewers. Any minor variations Miller might have found couldn’t be detected by consumers, he said.

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