Heineken: refreshing the parts that even 007 can't reach

Plenty of harrumphing going on at the moment as it's reported that James Bond will be drinking Heineken in Skyfall, the next instalment of the interminable franchise.

Lest we forget:

- Product placement has been ever present in the world of Bond, both books and films.
- Heineken have been involved with the Bond franchise for fifteen years.
- Bond does actually drink beer in the novels.

Let's take those one at a time.

It may not have been an explicit tactic of Ian Fleming to use the name of luxury goods in his novels for the purposes of marketing placement or financial reward. He may have just been following the lead of Dennis Wheatley in that regard. Fleming certainly followed Wheatley's work in many ways. But product placement has been ever-present in the Bond movie adaptations and franchised scripts. It makes money for the film company. Films cost money to make. Simple maths.

Placement seems to have grown at a pace during the Pierce Brosnan / Daniel Craig era. Heineken have been involved in five films so far and have great plans for Skyfall, including Craig's direct involvement. As Alexis Nasard, Chief Commercial Officer of Heineken says so eloquently; "We are confident our activation plan will ignite the conversation with our consumers and film viewers".

But Bond and beer? That can't be right?


I had vague memories of Bond drinking beer on the odd occasion; thankfully, someone has already documented the where-and-what's. Step forward Jay Brooks, who wrote about this back in 2006 when there was a similar kerfuffle over the reports of Bond to drink Heineken in Casino Royale.

- Miller High Life in Saratoga, Diamonds Are Forever
- Löwenbräu in Geneva, Goldfinger
- Red Stripe in Jamaica, The Man With The Golden Gun
- Franziskaner (four steins, no less) in Munich, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

So Bond is not only a beer drinker but also a lager drinker.

Would he be a Heineken drinker, though? It seems that he prefers to drink something local/regional to wherever he is at the time. But Heineken is a global brand and Bond is a global player.

Frankly if I'd spent the day killing double agents by the most circuitous method possible followed by a bout of athletic shagging, I'd rather reach for a lager than a Martini.

And as far as I know, the rumours that previous films are to be re-made with a beery angle are false. So there will be no Double Diamonds Are Forever, The Man With The Golden Ale nor For Your IPAs Only...


  1. Pretty sure he chugged something from the bottle in Sontum of Quolace or Casino Royale, too.

    The only problem I have with this is that it makes me doubt his judgement when it comes to cars, watches, suits...

  2. Heineken is a global brand. Any global traveller looking for a consistent beer knows what a Heineken is. It is is also a pleasant lager beer, no less pleasant for the fact it does not interest beer geeks.

    In the books he drinks the local produce of the countries he visits, but in an international hotel you find international products. The films are set in the present day.

    Bond isn't a beer geek, as is evident from his success with the ladies.

  3. You Only Leffe Twice.
    Off Licence To Kill.

  4. There's something quite wrong about the image that third film title conjures John!

  5. Yeah. I'm not really a bock fan either.

  6. What did he drink in Chunderball?

  7. Very good. Top marks, everyone.

    Glad to see you didn't stoop to the cellarman's favourites: "The Spile Who Loved Me" or "A View To A Kilderkin".

  8. Cooking Lager -- but isn't the point of James Bond that he's a fussy snob about consumer products, to the extent of being a dick about it? That's why he doesn't wear a perfectly functional £50 digital watch, drive a reasonable five-year old second hand car or wear off-the-peg suits from M&S. He's a terrible snob. (Not a geek.)

    (Although he did bomb around in a Ford hatchback of some description for a few minutes in Casino Royale, much to everyone's annoyance.)

  9. He's not a snob as such, he accepts life his short, that his is likely to be shorter than others and lives as each day would be his last. Hence the most expensive champagne, vodka, watches & suits. He is not a man with an ISA and a dream of retiring to a villa in Mallorca.

    Further the latest interpretation is influenced by the Bourne franchise and has attempted a little more grit than earlier interpretations. I would expect Bond to drink a Martini in a bar in Monte Carlo. If he found himself masquerading as a business man for universal exports in Japan, I'd expect him to be in a 3* Hotel & swigging a Heineken at the bar in an M&S suit.

    Before of course shooting someone, shagging a lass and getting himself into a decent bespoke tuxedo.