Kick in the can: Area tops in roadside empties

THE CANS have been counted, and the results are in:

New Jersey, the so-called Garden State, is first in the nation in roadside beer empties!

Actually, it was a three-way tie, with Jersey joining Maryland and Delaware at the trashy top of the pack.

And don’t smirk, Pennsylvania. You’re runner-up.

The can count the work of Dennis Brezina, a Harvard-educated former congressional aide who has spent the last seven years scouring the nation’s roadsides. It’s part of an ongoing effort to convince state legislatures to crack down on drinking and driving.

Brezina believes it’s teens who are doing most of the damage.

Sure, he says, adults toss them, too, because “they don’t like them banging around the car.”

But, “Surveys show that, when kids are asked ‘where’ they drink, the car is usually first or second.

“Kids are more likely to toss their empties because they don’t want to take the evidence home.”

Brezina’s work began as a fund-raiser for a homeless center near his home in Maryland. He’d clear miles of roadways, only to find them re-littered in weeks.

That led him to start counting. He’s since expanded the survey, sampling nearly 40,000 miles of roadways in the lower 48 states.

The national average is 950 cans for each mile.

Though there about three soda cans manufactured for every beer can, the roadside trash ratio is the exact opposite: Littered booze cans outnumber soft drinks by about 3 to 1.

Not surprisingly, Anheuser-Busch products are the most common labels, followed by Miller and Coors.

Overall, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland are first, with 1,400 cans per mile. Folks, that’s the equivalent of 58 cases – enough for a decent-sized frat party.

Pennsylvania is right behind at 1,200.

Maine is last, with 375.

Brezina cites the stats to promote legislative studies of teen-age drinking.

To me, this is just another sign that the 21-year-old minimum drinking age doesn’t work. As long as it’s illegal, teens will drink in secrecy – often with disastrous effects.

But no matter how you feel about underage drinking, there’s no excuse for littering your empties.

“The roadsides are turning into skidrows,” said Brezina. “The alcoholic beverage trash on the roads is just outlandish.”

Kids: Toss those cans in the trash, not the grass!


In my last column I mistakenly said that Red Bell Brewing was in bankruptcy. I should have said it was the company’s former president who went belly up, not the entire company.

Red Bell is now owned by its contractor, who is making a go of it with a bar on Main Street, Manayunk. He’s also packaging Red Bell bottled beer that is being made by Matt Brewing in Utica, N.Y.

 Beer radar

Manayunk Brewing (4120 Main St., Manayunk) has a new head brewer. It’s Larry Horwitz, 30, formerly at the Oyster Bar & Brewery in Ft. Wayne, Ind. More on his brewing plans in a future column…

Belgian beer fans should look for Eulogy to open late this summer, at 136 Chestnut St. in Old City. The owners are promising 10 taps and 100 bottles. That ‘ll make four city restaurants specializing in Belgian ales, along with Bridgid ‘s (726 N. 24th St.,), Cuvee Notredame (17th and Green streets) and Monk’s Cafe (16th and Spruce streets)…

Who are you pulling for in Sunday’s World Cup Final? Or more appropriately, which country’s beer do you favor, Germany or Brazil? Either way, you can’t lose. Ludwig’s Garten (1315 Sansom St.) will be serving the former, starting at 6:25 a.m. Look for the Frankenheim Alt on tap. In Old City, 10 bucks will get you a continental breakfast and a drink at Brasil’s (112 Chestnut St.). Try its Xingu, a tasty black stout…

Back on local shelves: Hair of the Dog, the strong ales from Portland, Ore., and Fuller’s Ales, from London’s oldest brewery.


Sunday – Garden State Craft Brewers Guild Festival, Waterloo Village, Stanhope, N.J. Fifteen Joisey craft breweries will pour. Consumption commences at 1 p.m., goes till 5 or keg collapse, whichever comes first. Tix: $20. Info: 973-347-0900.

 Joe Sixpack, by Staff Writer Don Russell, was written this week with a bottle of Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale.


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