Miller plastic a pour substitute for glass?

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Coming to a ballpark, deli, tavern or package store near you: plastic beer bottles.

That’s right – your favorite beverage soon will be packaged in the same material that more commonly encases root beer, toothpaste and crack cocaine. I can see the slick advertise-ments now, of plastic beers boasting the deep, rich taste of roasted malts, fresh hops and imported polymers.

Yechh. Drinking a cold brew out of plastic strikes me as stupid as watching the new “Star Wars” movie on a 9-inch black-and-white TV.

None of which escaped the marketing geniuses at Miller Brewing when they first launched this hare-brained scheme last autumn. They figured plastic would be perfect for ballparks, beaches and other venues that prohibit glass.

“We certainly heard the skepticism,” said Miller spokesman Scott Bussen. “There’s a real emotional connection between the average adult drinker and a glass bottle. It has been ingrained in us.”

Indeed, most beer drinkers regard their bottle like a child regards his momma’s breast. We stare, we suckle, we peel the label.

Ah, well, you know what I mean.

Anyway, mention a plastic beer bottle to most people, and they think of a flimsy, two-liter soda bottle. That may be cool for those accustomed to slugging their punch 40 ounces at a time. But the rest of us prefer to drink out of something a little sturdier, something that wasn’t designed for kindergarten arts-and-crafts projects.

The Miller bottle, though, is heftier. Bussen said its hardened plastic feels like the real thing, and it can keep beer cold as long as glass does. More importantly for beer wonks, the bottle manufacturer apparently overcame the longtime obstacle in plastic packaging: keeping the carbonation in and the air out.

Miller has been test-marketing 20-ounce and one-liter plastic bottles in a half-dozen cities (the closest is Norfolk, Va.), and says it’s gotten remarkably good response. “We had it at the Super Bowl [in Miami] and it did great there,” Bussen said.

Unlike some purists, I don’t subscribe to the belief that plastic beer bottles are the end of civilization as we know it.

For one thing, they’re perfect for stadiums. It’s gotta taste better than concession stand draft beer that was poured 20 minutes before it hit the stands. And they may finally put an end to those expensive personal-injury lawsuits that drunken Eagles fans regrettably face whenever they clock visiting Dallas fans with their empties.

Philly Beer Names

Back Bay Brewing Co. in Boston is taking a hit from critics for its deliciously tasteless new label: Boston Strangler Stout. Seems families of the ’60s neck-wringer’s victims regard the label as a bit insensitive.

Hey, if the Puritans can be so crude, why not the Quakers?

Here, then, is a tribute to our own city’s history of killers, crooks and cons: A sixpack of Completely Tasteless Philly Beer Labels.(All licensing rights reserved by the Daily News.)

  1. Marty Graham Cask-Conditioned Ale.
  2. Mumia Abu-Ja-Malt Liquor.
  3. Eddie Savitz ESBVD.
  4. O’sage Lite.
  5. Grays Ferry Black & Tan.
  6. Heidniken.

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On a marginally more serious note, here’s an idea the city should cop as it looks for new sources of revenue to fund its new stadiums: Philly Beer.

I stole this idea from the city of Toronto, which recently contracted with Molson to brew Toronto’s Own Amber Lager. Proceeds will be used to fund new recreational facilities.

Given the vast number of public-spirited beer drinkers in these parts, I figure our mass consumption of Philly Beer could raise millions for the construction of a pair of new, state-of-the-art stadiums that could then sell even more over-priced, under-poured beer.

Oh, never mind.

Joe Sixpack (written this week with a bottle of Yards Old Ale) appears every other Friday.

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