Heineken in Skyfall – so what?

Why it doesn’t matter at all that 007 will be seen drinking Heineken in Skyfall.

Heineken beer to make its debut in Skyfall

The recent announcement that James Bond would be seen drinking Heineken beer in Skyfall created headlines around the world, with much of the media reporting that was swapping his vodka martinis for beer.

In fact, the most likely scenario is that Bond will drink the Dutch beer in one scene, with evidence from one of the clapperboard photos that he will be drinking a vodka martini too. And even if he did swap his vodka martini for a beer, Skyfall would not be the first film that the drink was absent.

From Russia With Love is considered to be a classic, but has no vodka martini; Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service both feature a martini, but vodka is not mentioned. And while Roger Moore was served vodka martinis in three of his films (out of seven, his Bond preferred Champagne by far), he neither ordered the drink nor uttered the words “shaken, not stirred” even once; and more recently the vodka martini was missing from Quantum of Solace, since he drank Vespers.

Much of the recent reporting has focused on Bond moving downmarket by drink been, missing that Skyfall will not be the first occasion that James Bond has drunk a beer.

In the books he was hardly a regular beer drinker, but several brands were mentioned. And on the screen, while he didn’t quite get round to drinking the Budweiser that he ordered in Licence To Kill, he did knock back a bottle of “Cervecita” in Quantum of Solace, what appears to be an imaginary brand created for the film; given that Heineken was a partner on that film too it is surprising that they didn’t appear on screen then.

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Bond orders Enzian (Swiss schnapps) and Löwenbräu at a brasserie in Geneva while tailing Auric Goldfinger, while in Berlin during the events of The Living Daylights he eats soused herring with schnapps and Löwenbräu.

Miller High Life

Bond and Felix Leiter stop at a roadside restaurant where they eat scrambled eggs and sausages. In the original text they order Miller High Life, although I understand the reference to the drinks was removed in the US version.

Red Stripe

007 orders a Red Stripe at The Dreamland Café, 3½ Love Lane, when on the trail of Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun.

As well as mentioning these three beers specifically, Bond drank beer on a couple of other occasions, although Ian Fleming didn’t mention any brand specifically. In the short story The Hildebrand Rarity he drinks a chilled beer to accompany chicken salad; and in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service prior to his marriage to Tracy he drinks four steins of beer (generally half a litre, but they can be a full litre) with a former Luftwaffe pilot; and Black Velvet, a mixture of Champagne and Guinness was mentioned in Diamonds Are Forever.

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David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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One Response to “Heineken in Skyfall – so what?”

  • Gary Cook

    of COURSE it doesn’t matter- Fleming had Bond drink beer several times, so it must be OK. “Shaken, not stirred” has become a media cliche out of all proportion to its importance. Bond is more likely to drink a whisky than a vodka martini in the books. No more bleating about this please.