For the third consecutive year, the Miller Lite steinie bottle returns this week in a limited-time play aimed at delivering a shot of nostalgia to drinkers and a visual pop to retail shelves.
The return of the stout, short-necked bottle — the same vessel in which Miller Lite debuted in 1975 — is slated to be available through the end of the year. It will be backed by a national ad campaign featuring a dedicated television spot developed in partnership with the agency DDB that will air nationwide also through the end of the year.
The steinie is a classic style introduced in the 1930s to save on glass and shipping in the tenuous years post-Prohibition. Miller Brewing adopted the steinie as early as the 1960s for Miller High Life. The bottle style also was chosen for the launch of Miller Genuine Draft in 1986.
Slowly phased out of production in the late 1980s when longnecks were all the rage, the steinie came back in 2015 to celebrate the brand's heritage. The bottle returned after the Miller Lite rebranding, in which the brand ditched its modern blue motif for its vintage white “Lite” labels. The steinie made another reappearance last year for a limited time.
The 2017 bottles feature a larger brand play on the six-pack packaging as well as a unique red bottle cap emblazoned with “The Original Bottle” designed to catch drinkers’ attention.
Although sales of Miller Lite are down slightly year-to-date, the brand has outperformed the premium light segment.
Miller Lite sales dollars were down 0.9 percent on a 1.7 percent slip in volume year-to-date through Sept. 23, according to Nielsen. Still, the brand has nearly retained its dollar share in beer overall and picked up 0.6 percentage points of case share in the premium light segment.