As Miller Brewing Company prepares to celebrate 165 years in Milwaukee, a new mural has appeared on the wall of the Valley brewery’s brewhouse building, on the site where Miller High Life was created 120 years ago.
Though astute folks will have already noticed the towering Girl in the Moon on the "Home of High Life" mural, the company officially unveiled it today.
The mural replaces one that was painted in 2007 (pictured below) that had the Miller logo and beer pouring from the mouth of a bottle. That one, according to Miller Brewing's Matt Schmidt, was beginning to show wear.
(PHOTO: Haley Landsman Duran/Facebook)
"The foundation of the mural started with Miller High Life’s agency Quaker City Mercantile (QCM)," Schmidt told me. "From there we worked with our internal creative team to adjust and incorporate the local connection. We worked with muralist and painter Adam Nilson from Nilson Studio here in Milwaukee to ensure the mural was executed as designed."
For stats fans, the new mural is 167.5 feet wide and 73.5 feet tall. After applying 40 gallons of primer, painters use 42 gallons of cream-colored paint, 22 gallons of red and five gallons of gold.
After arriving in Milwaukee from Sigmaringen, where he’d brewed beer at the castle in this town along the Danube River in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Fred Miller bought the Plank Road Brewery for $2,300 and renamed it for himself in 1855.
For a fun look at Miller’s immigration and the company’s first 100 years, check out this 1954 film in which Hollywood actor Arthur Franz – who starred in films like "The Caine Mutiny," "The Young Lions" and "Sands of Iwo Jima" – plays Fred Miller Jr.
There’s also a lively and likely fantastical beer garden scene set in the Miller Gardens next to the brewery that suggests an origin story for the Girl in the Moon, who was introduced not long after High Life debuted on Dec. 30, 1903.
According to the film, she was based on Miller’s daughter Clara, though that’s a disputed fact, as you can read in this interesting post explaining some of the changes the girl has undergone over the years.
Whoever she is, the Girl in the Moon painted on the brewhouse building will likely be seen by nine million sets of eyes each year, reminding Milwaukeeans and visitors of the city’s role as the birthplace of the Champagne of Beers.
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.