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by Jeff Wilkin

Type A To Z

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Features reporter Jeff Wilkin on pop culture

Miller 64, People 0

October has always been prime time for baseball fans. This year, with all the nutty playoff game comebacks and collapses, watching the teams has been more fun than usual.

Even my Baltimore Orioles were invited to the 2012 tournament. Although the always annoying New York Yankees knocked out the Birds in five games, I at least had a genuine rooting interest this year. And it looks like the Yankees may soon be joining the Orioles on the sidelines; the Detroit Tigers have been treating the New Yorkers the same way a flock of great horned owls treat a pack of field mice. No mercy.

With baseball, comes commercials. About 15 years ago, some network suit figured that packing telecasts with advertisements promoting network properties would be a mark of genius. That’s why we’re all spending so much time with Conan O’Brien on TBS this fall. He’s not a bad guy, but his show is not by cup of tea.

And Miller 64 is not my cup of beer. Retailers with money are also spending big with baseball to promote certain brands, and the Miller Brewing Co. is really trying to connect with 20- and 30-somethings that love to exercise and then reward themselves with bottles of the company’s 64-calorie beer.

As Snoopy used to say: “Bleeeeeaaaaahhhh.”

Many beer drinkers should thank Miller. The company successfully brewed and marketed the first mainstream light beer — Miller Lite — during the mid 1970s. Tastes great, less filling. I’ve since graduated from Lite to Genesee Light, then to Coors Light and most recently to Michelob Ultra — another lightweight beer suds. Without Miller’s revolutionary thinking, fewer calories in a decent tasting beer, I’d probably still be chugging Genny Cream. Over the decades, light beer has probably saved by a couple million calories.

I cannot salute Miller for Miller 64, a Frankenstein lager running amok in the beer stores. I know what the advertising guys are trying to sell — physically active, loves beer, doesn’t love the 98 calories that come with most lights, what to do? Well, knock down the calorie count to 64, show men and women running and stretching at the gym, then toasting their fine forms with Miller 64. All with a catchy, corny drinking song. Then we watch buses filled with money pull up to Miller headquarters in Chicago, Ill.

But the product is just kind of lousy, in my opinion. Given the choice between a Miller 64 and a Fresca — along with Tab a truly vile low-calorie soft drink — I’d take the Fresca every time. I thought I had already tried the worst beer ever made — a can of Pittsburgh-brewed Robin Hood Cream Ale at Rochester’s California Brew Haus during the ‘70s — but Miller 64 is right there. I’d rather drink Listerine. This beer is like Alka-Seltzer mixed with Orange Fizzies and served warm.

It’s been killing me to watch the same stupid advertisement, over and over again. My advice to beer lovers would be this: “Swim the extra laps, run the extra mile, lift a few more weights. Don’t worry about the 35 calories you’re getting with Coors Light or Michelob Ultra. At least there’s some beer taste involved!”

I know some people hate the idea of light beer anyway. They might say the same thing to me — “Don’t worry about calories ... pick up truly robust craft beers such as Sam Adams or Saranac instead of these watered down cans of light!”

I think they’d have a point.

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October 17, 2012
2:53 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Swim the extra TWO laps and have a REAL beer, Jeff.

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