Yes, James Bond drinks beer

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MAYBE IT’S ALL product placement hype, but the new James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” has drooling Internet denizens and clueless movie reviewers harrumphing over the appearance of Heineken’s well-recognized logo. Bond, they insist, would never drink a beer; his choice of beverage, they claim, is a martini, shaken not stirred.

True James Bond fans – the ones who’ve read Ian Fleming’s books and seen every movie a million times – must be scratching their heads about the ruckus.

They know that 007 drinks everything.

Champagne, whiskey, vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, cognac, sake, brandy, wine – you name it. In “Goldfinger,” he even drinks a mint julep.

Someone once tallied up all the booze and estimated Bond gulped down a refresher once every 24 minutes on film. Same goes with the books; more than 300 drinks, or one every seven pages.

And, yes, that includes a good bit of beer.

Jay Brooks, who writes about beer for the Oakland Tribune, noted not long ago that the books include scenes where our man sucks down everything from Miller High Life to Lowenbrau. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he enjoys four steins at Munich’s Franziskaner Keller. In Diamonds Are Forever, he quaffs a Black Velvet (Guinness and Champagne).

Same goes with the movies. In “License to Kill,” he orders a Budweiser with a lime, but fortunately never gets to drink it.

Think about it: When Bond meets the CIA’s Felix Leiter in his very first movie, “Dr. No,” set in Kingston, Jamaica, it’s not a martini he drinks at Puss Feller’s beach bar. Of course, it’s a Red Stripe.

As for Heineken, well, “Skyfall” isn’t the first time it co-stars with our hero. Its logo has cropped up in Bond movies since 1997’s “Tomorrow Never Dies.” In the remake of “Casino Royale,” he orders a glass but never gets to drink it. (This happens a lot in Bond movies.)

In “Skyfall,” we see 007 actually swallow.

Now, in an earlier column, I criticized Bond for associating with an overpriced skunky imported lager. Ordered in a swanky casino bar, it’s a complete waste of money.

But the brand seems to be an appropriate choice in a quick scene when he’s slumming it somewhere in the tropics. Here he is, sucking on a bottle, unshaven and believed to be dead, sacked out with Tonia Sotiropoulou.

This is the broken cynical Bond – written off by M, dead to the world, wasting away in joyless sex with a Greek hottie.

A martini, shaken or otherwise, just wouldn’t fit in that scene.


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