Belgian officials destroyed more than 2,000 cans of Miller High Life because the "Champagne of Beers" is not, in fact, champagne, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The beer, which was on its way to Germany, represented an "infringement on the protected designation of origin," according to a statement from the Comité Champagne.
The Comité Champagne is the "interprofessional body" charged with protecting Champagne houses and growers of northeastern France.
"This destruction ... confirms the importance that the European Union attaches to designations of origin and rewards the determination of the Champagne producers to protect their designation," Charles Goemaere, Managing Director of the Comité Champagne, said in a statement.
The ill-fated cans of American beer emblazoned with their century-old tagline, "The Champagne of Beers," met their end at a port on Antwerp, where they were intercepted by customs authorities. The Westlandia company in Yrpres carried out the solemn task.
There, the cans were unceremoniously poured out. To add insult to injury, the cans were then crushed.
The Comité Champagne took pains to reassure all interested parties that the suds' destruction was carried out "with the utmost respect for environmental concerns by ensuring that the entire batch, both contents and container, was recycled in an environmentally responsible manner."
"But we remain proud of Miller High Life, its nickname and its Milwaukee, Wisconsin provenance," the company also said. "We invite our friends in Europe to the U.S. any time to toast the High Life together."
In its statement, the Comité Champagne noted the unnamed, intended recipient of the shipment "was informed and did not contest the decision."
Thanks to the Comité Champagne and the actions of Belgian customs authorities, no Germans were duped into drinking Miller High Life, wrongly believing it to be champagne. Further, the "Champagne" designation will not be tarnished by a lowly lager interloper.
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