By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 23, 2021 at 3:48 PM

In light of its long history as The Champagne of Beers, Miller High Life circulated a petition in May to get the Miller Brewery site in Milwaukee declared The Champagne of Beers Region by Milwaukee’s Common Council.

“If champagne can only come from Champagne, France, why is The Champagne of Beers any different,” asked a landing page for the petition.

“We're petitioning the Milwaukee Common Council to establish an official Champagne of Beers region, and declare that only beers invented within its strict borders – around the Miller Brewery – will be considered The Champagne of Beers.”

Ald. StamperX

That request was honored last week as the Milwaukee Common Council on May 15 voted unanimously on a resolution by Ald. Russell Stamper to create the region.

Mayor Tom Barrett added his signature on June 22.

Because not all the world’s High Life is brewed in Milwaukee, the resolution referes to beer “invented” at the valley brewery, rather than produced there, marking a notable difference between the proposed beer region and the existing Champagne region.

When asked about the petition early in May, Stamper – in whose district the brewery is located – told OnMilwaukee he was supportive of the initiative.

Here is the full text of the resolution:

Whereas, Miller Brewing Company was founded in 1855 by Frederick Miller in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and

Whereas, Miller Brewing’s oldest brand, and flagship beer, Miller High Life, was introduced in 1903; and

Whereas, Within 3 years, the beer had earned the nickname “The Champagne of Bottle Beer”; and

Whereas, Miller High Life has retained the nickname “the Champagne of Beers” since that time, and is still brewed with the same recipe and bottled in the same clear glass; and

Whereas, The Miller Brewery and its local workers still produce hundreds of thousands of cases and tens of thousands of kegs of Miller High Life in Milwaukee each year; and

Whereas, Famously, sparkling wine is only “champagne” if it is produced in the “Champagne” region of France; and

Whereas, As of June, 2021, over 12,000 people have signed a petition urging the Milwaukee Common Council to declare a “Champagne of Beers region” in the Miller Brewery Grounds, and declare that only beers invented within those borders will be considered “The Champagne of Beers”; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, By the Common Council of the City of Milwaukee, that the portion of West State Street located within the Miller Brewery Grounds shall be designated the “Champagne of Beers Region”; and, be it

Further Resolved, That only beer invented within the “Champagne of Beers Region” shall be considered “The Champagne of Beers”.

As part of the proposal, Miller has also selected an ambassador, to which it will give $20,000, a year’s worth of beer and an all-expenses-paid trip to Milwaukee.

The ambassador's identity will be released later this week.

High LifeX

“We respect Champagne, France as a tourist destination and the weight that name carries for the sparkling wine – but we’re all about beer at Miller, and with our long history of brewing, we wanted to give beer lovers a tourist destination they deserve,” said Miller Senior Marketing Manager Anne Pando.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.