By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Apr 18, 2004 at 5:26 AM

{image1}Miller Brewing Company announced plans on Friday to bring its 2005 Marketing, Sales and Distribution Conference to town in honor of the brewer's 150th anniversary.

It also announced a multimillion-dollar, 12-year sponsorship commitment with the Wisconsin Center District (WCD), the public/private entity that runs the Midwest Airlines Center, U.S. Cellular Arena and Milwaukee Theatre.

The conference, which will be hosted at the Midwest Airlines Center, will attract more than 3,000 guests from around the world and is one of many activities the company plans for its 150th anniversary celebration.

"Milwaukee has been Miller's home for a century and a half, and today we continue the tradition of our company giving back to its community and making it a good place to live and work," said Michael Jones, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Miller.

The multimillion-dollar sponsorship agreement expands Miller's presence in Brew City and its sponsorship of the Wisconsin Center District. It basically increases its advertising presence inside and outside the Midwest Airlines Center, U.S. Cellular Arena and Milwaukee Theatre. The agreement also provides Miller with the title sponsorship and naming rights of a new refreshment area to be constructed in the arena.

Franklyn Gimbel, WCD Board President, seemed proud of his facility and his city, not to mention his local brewery. "This is a generous agreement that will undoubtedly benefit the Wisconsin Center District and the hundreds of thousands of guests who visit our facilities each year," said Gimbel. "The Wisconsin Center District is an attraction for locals and guests, and we are proud to more prominently involve Miller Brewing Company in that experience."

This is Miller's third major Wisconsin sponsorship announcement since summer 2002. At that time, Miller announced a 10-year partnership with the Green Bay Packers. In December 2002, Miller announced a long-term partnership with Summerfest to name Miller Lite the official beer sponsor of all events at Maier Festival Park.

According to Jones, Miller's April 2005 conference is expected to attract more than 3,000 guests to Milwaukee for the three-day event. That translates into more than 9,000 occupied hotel rooms and, when paired with food and entertainment, the conference is expected to have an economic impact of more than $5.6 million. This year's conference was held in New Orleans.

"We held our annual conference in Milwaukee a few years ago and the response was phenomenal," said Jones. "Our guests were impressed with the Midwest Airlines Center, and they were met with enthusiasm and genuine Milwaukee hospitality. There is simply no better place for the Miller family of employees and distributors to gather to celebrate this important milestone for our company."

According to Jones, Miller is also planning several other activities to celebrate the company's anniversary in 2005. Elton John has not yet been booked.

"Miller Brewing Company is excited about this significant anniversary for our company and it will be celebrated in style," said Jones.