Belgium destroys shipment of American beer after taking issue with ‘Champagne of Beer' slogan

The shipment of Budweiser was seized by Belgian customs officials and the beer was later poured away.

Belgium destroys shipment of American beer after taking issue with ‘Champagne of Beer' slogan


Belgium destroyed a shipment of American Beer after it took issue with its maker's claim that the beer was "The Champagne of Beers."

Belgian Customs crushed 2,352 cans Miller High Life Beer earlier this week on the grounds that they had been incorrectly labeled Champagne.

A trade association of the Champagne industry had complained that the term "champagne" should only be used on bottles of sparkling wines made in Champagne using the traditional method.

Chardonnay grapes, Pinot Noir grapes, and Pinot Meunier are the only ones that can be used to make true Champagne, which is French sparkling wine.

The Comite Champagne (a trade association representing the Champagne industry) requested that the American beers be destroyed, arguing the label "The Champagne of Beers" infringed upon the protected designation of "Champagne".

Miller High Life, a beer brand from Milwaukee, was first launched in 1903. According to the website, three years after its launch, Miller High Life began using the slogan "The Champagne of Bottle Beer". It was shortened to "The Champagne of Beers" in 1969.

They were heading for Germany when they were intercepted in the port of Antwerp, February.

The Comite Champagne stated that on April 17, the cans had been destroyed "with the greatest respect to environmental concerns, by ensuring the entire batch, both the content and the container, are recycled in an environmentally responsible way."

Kristian Vanderwaeren is the general administrator at the Belgian General Administration for Customs and Excise.

If a counterfeit product is proved, as it was in this case, we consult with each other about the decision to destroy the goods, and the manner of destruction.

Charles Goemaere of the Comite Champagne said that the successful collaboration between Belgian customs and the services provided by the Champagne Committee led to the decision.

He said: 'It confirms that the European Union places great importance on the designations of origin, and it rewards the residents of Champagne for their determination to protect the designation.'