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The independent consumer guide to beer product dating.

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The Miller Brewing Company
(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Miller Brewing is the second largest beer company in the United States.

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Brands

Miller's flagship brands are (obviously) the Miller™ and Miller High Life® families of beer. Milwaukee's Best®, Magnum®, Meister Bräu, and Sharps® (a "non-alcoholic brew") also carry the Miller imprint. Henry Weinhard's, Hamm's, and Olde English became Miller brands in early 2000.

The Plank Road Brewery (brewers of Icehouse™, North Stone™, Red Dog™, and Southpaw™) is actually Milller using its original brewery name in order to look like a microbrewery. (Marketing. Sheesh.). Plank Road's company code is also 34100.

The Leinenkugel Brewery of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin is an independent brewery purchased by Miller in 1988, but still run by managed by the Leinenkugel family. Leinenkugel's beers use a slightly more-detailed version of the Miller codes.

Mickey's Brewing Company is a front used to sell the Mickey's Malt Liquor brands that Miller purchased in 2000. If you're trying to date a Mickey's bottle older than that, you need to read about Stroh's dating codes.

All Löwenbräu beers sold in the United States are brewed & distributed by Miller (under license from Löwenbräu AG of Germany), and use the Miller coding system.

Skyy Blue malt beverage is also brewed by Miller.

Code Placement

All Miller cans have production codes on the bottom. Miller and Leinenkugel bottles are coded on the neck, a little higher than most companies stamp. Plank Road bottles have a second code (different from the codes explained here) stamped on the bottoms, but the code on the neck is the same as the Miller/Leinenkugel codes.

Loose cases and 12-can packs are rather inconviently dated on the bottom (opposite the handle) side, although I've sometimes seen the dates on top. Cartons have codes on the long side. 30-pack cubes and 12-bottle packs are usually dated in the upper left corner of the box flaps.

Those house-shaped "Leinie's Lodge" sampler 12-packs do not have an expiration date stamped on the box, because the different varieties of beer included in the sampler were brewed at different times, and won't have identical expiration dates.

Code Format

All Miller products have a two-line product code printed on them. An example (from a 30-pack of High Life) is:

10146
8032ZE14

The first line is (in Miller's words) a "Do Not Sell" date in MMDDY format. This "Do Not Sell" date is set to about 120 days after shipping.

(Older Miller packaging (circa 1993) included some whitespace separating the components of the date, so that 15 July 1993 was "07 15 3" instead of "07153". Apparently that was too legible, so Miller changed it.)

I was stumped by the second line of the production code, but BeerDates.com reader Grant Newbury quizzed a tour guide about them during a tour of the Milller Brewery in Milwaukee. (Props to Grant for his initiative!) According to brewery employees, The second line of code describes the bottling day of the week, the brewery, the bottling line, and time. (They were apparently describing the code used on cans, which is different from the codes used on bottles and cartons.)

The first letter is the day of the week the beer was canned -- "A" for Monday, "B" for Tuesday, etc. The second character is a number indicating which brewery canned the beer. The fifth and sixth characters are numbers indicating which production line in that plan canned the beer, and the last two digits indicate the time of day the beer was canned.

The brewery codes used for the second character of the second line are:

  1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  2. not assigned
  3. not assigned
  4. Ft. Worth, Texas
  5. Eden, North Carolina
  6. Irwindale, California
  7. Albany, Georgia
  8. Trenton, Ohio

I'm guessing those two unassigned numbers belong to breweries that have been shut down.

Judging by some very old cans I've seen, Miller was using a completely different code system (that might not even have included a date) back before they started putting U.S. government warnings on cans. Of course, if you're drinking beer that old, the cobwebs on the can will probably convince you not to drink it.

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BeerDates.com is the independent consumer guide to beer product dating. It is not owned, operated, affiliated with, or endorsed by any brewery or brewing company. In other words, if you want to send e-mail to a beer company, don't send it to me. "Miller High Life", and the phrase "cold-filtered" are trademarks of the Miller Brewing Company. "Magnum", "Meister Bräu" "Miller", and "Milwaukee's Best", are registered trademarks of the Miller Brewing Company. "Icehouse", "Northstone", "Red Dog", and "Southpaw" are trademarks of The Plank Road Brewery.

http://beerdates.com/Miller.html © 1996.pl-2014 Michael Bauser