Belgium: The 'Champagne of Beers' gets crushed

Belgian customs crushed more than 2,352 cans of Miller High Life after the shipment destined for Germany was intercepted in the Belgian port of Antwerp in February.The Comité Champagne asked for the destruction as its slogan, "The Champagne of Beers," infringes on Champagne's protected designation of origin.

The slogan goes against European Union rules, which clarify that goods infringing a protected designation of origin can be treated as counterfeit. The market for protected geographical designations is worth nearly EUR 75 billion annually, half of which is in wines.

Charles Goemaere, the managing director of the Comité Champagne, said the destruction of the beers "confirms the importance that the European Union attaches to designations of origin and rewards the determination of the Champagne producers to protect their designation."

“Miller High Life has proudly worn the nickname 'The Champagne of Beers' for almost 120 years," Molson Coors Beverage Co. which owns the Miller High Life brand said in a statement to The Associated Press. "We invite our friends in Europe to the U.S. any time to toast the High Life together."

However, the company also said, it "respects local restrictions" around the word Champagne. Apparently, the company did not actively export the product to the EU, but Belgian customs declined to say who had ordered the beers.

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