New Miller Lite Bottle

I’ve ranted before about the hoops big beer companies need to jump through to make their products seem fresh. It essentially comes down to glorified repackaging of an old product. Well, Miller Lite is at it again.

The commercial has a simple yet serviceable enough premise – a group of guys are apparently ogling the waitress but it turns out they are hot for the new bottle.

The funny thing is, advertisements are supposed to extoll the virtues of their products. So when it comes times to explain why Miller Lite has a new bottle, this is the slogan they came up with:

"The new bottle? What’s there to say?"

This question strangely leaves the audience hanging in the last few seconds of the commercial, free to come up with their own answer, the only possible one that makes sense being: nothing. There is absolutely nothing to say about the new Miller Lite bottle that even a 30 second commercial introducing the bottle written by a team of marketers couldn’t come up with anything.

Then the closing narration:

"The new Miller Lite bottle: Find one at a bar near you."

Sadly, this is probably a more sensible move than attempting to make a premium budget beer. Nothing will convince me to order a Miller Lite at a bar, but for people who don’t care much about taste and just want a cheap American Pale Lager, maybe the new bottle stirs enough curiosity to make a sale.

Taco Bell

I just went to Taco Bell and ordered a combo with a Mountain Dew. Or Mtn Dew. Or whatever it is.

When I got to the window the guy asked me, “You said Mountain Dew, right? Do you want the green one or the blue one?”

I shuddered and was at a loss for words before telling him that I wanted the ‘normal’ one.

On top of that, I get home and read the side of the cup and they are announcing that they have a new product:

Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos…

I give up trying to defend this company.

Budweiser Black Crown

Look, an expensive version of a cheap beer! I’m not sure who Anheuser Busch’s target market for this is. Budweiser has made a living by selling swill to customers who aren’t concerned about taste. Now there is a big push for #TasteIs all of a sudden? If you are a Bud drinker then that’s fine, we all know what your primary motivations are: keeping money and getting drunk. But if you are a discerning customer who wants more from a drink, you know better than to drink Bud.

Maybe the push for a more flavored beer is a sign of the times- a healthy reaction by a stingy company. Perhaps this is a harbinger that, 20 years from now, American Pale Lagers won’t dominate 85% of the beer market. But none of that makes Black Crown good, because even without tasting it, I can tell you that its flavor isn’t what the commercials tout.

Let’s call this product what it is: in a market where customers are increasingly willing to shell out more money for higher quality beer, Black Crown is a half-assed attempt to grab a couple extra bucks for generic lager with sub-par ingredients. Said another way? #TasteIs secondary to profit.


Maybe I’m an old man, but I caught myself thinking deeply about leftovers today. I remember my mom always pushing leftovers on us kids and the strange joy she would get when we obliged the meal. I can totally understand that now.

I’ve eaten more than my fair share of Taco Bell and Arby’s. I am not ashamed to concede that I need a regular Mexican Pizza or Mozzarella Sticks fix from these fine vendors. But it is enormously satisfying to be able to cook a good, large meal and pack containers of leftovers in to the fridge. It’s just good sense- money well spent on home cooked food and another meal in waiting to boot.

But if there’s one thing more pleasurable than packing up a refrigerator with delicious leftovers, it’s the immense satisfaction I get when I actually eat that food and get to throw the empty leftover containers into the sink. I don’t know what it is. It’s like a beautiful virtuous cycle of culinary habits. And if that makes me an old man then I will wear that badge with pride while I continue deciding on what window shades to buy.


The modern cocktail is a funny thing. Just over 10 years ago a mixed drink was either a highball or one of a select few classics. Nothing additional was provisioned for by bars or requested by drinkers. This state of drinking had remained relatively unchanged over the previous 50 years when vodka was popularized and beer was lightened. And things had gotten pretty bleak. It was time for a change.

The mixology movement didn’t happen all at once and, despite its predisposition towards pretentiousness, was the natural momentum of passion for the drink. Along with the craft beer industry, mixology ushered the 21st century into an alcohol renaissance. Society agrees that everybody wins when you can equate drinking with enlightenment (as long as it’s not the kind of enlightenment that happens when you drink three bottles of wine, pass out, and hit your head on the coffee table). So how have things changed?

The old bar

It’s easy to pick on dives but that’s not where I’m going here. You tried the new Irish pub with the fancy woodwork and all you got were the same old beers. You went to the fancy steakhouse with the ‘sophisticated’ lounge and the same overdone cocktails were on the menu. Of course more rare and complex drinks existed but, as far as the vast majority of these bars were concerned, if you weren’t getting a martini or Bloody Mary then your vodka was either coming with soda or tonic. There’s nothing wrong with these options individually but as a whole they were limiting.


The modern bar

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a nice place without at least a few ‘house drinks’. Sexy cocktails in cool glasses with nice presentation appeal to women, and women appeal to men. It’s a simple recipe to broaden the appeal of the bar. But if it’s so obvious, why has it taken so long? Well, cocktails are a business and stocking and training is the expense. Limes, lemons, olives, and corn syrup cherries are not going to cut it anymore. Actually keeping fresh ingredients and making sure your employees know what to do with them isn’t automatic. It’s something that needs to be planned, managed, and presented properly. But it’s worth it, as the payout is a higher profit margin.

The old new

Before when I said drinking hadn’t changed a whole lot in 50 years, I kind of lied. You see, there has been an interesting twist to drinking all along that we’ve always known about- doing shots. In a way, modern cocktails are a natural progression of the more complicated shooters of yesterday. And they existed for the same reasons: making drinking more interesting and varied, blunting the bite of the alcohol, fun and creativity. But what was generally lacking was sophistication. The modern mixology movement is about these mixed shots growing up and looking elegant in a stately glass. Add a stalk of lemongrass and it’s just downright fancy!

The movement

So that brings us to mixology. Bartenders coming up with creative ways to mix new ingredients. I think this all started with rediscovering the roots of the cocktail. The speakeasy movement that started in New York brought back the old timey charm of fresh ingredients and classic liquors. I like the speakeasy scene, I really do. The style and focus on vintage and quality is great but there is an over reliance on bitters, disrespect of vodka, and not enough interest in the modern. The danger here is that drinks are made more for novelty purposes than for enjoyable consumption. While I’m trying not to make a negative blanket statement about ALL speakeasy bars, it is easy to see why newer cocktails outgrew this style.

Now many mixologists are not just looking at old ingredients but trying to find new ones. New liqueurs are increasingly added to the mix (a move some old-school bartenders refer to as "cheating"). High tech mixes are interesting as are the fresh ingredients but the 12 ingredient cocktails are simply too complex for most drinks besides shared punchbowls. Not that all bars are guilty of this and there are definitely some exceptions but, in general, simpler is better. We are already starting to see cocktails pop up that are the bartending equivalent of molecular gastronomy. It’s kind of cool to make something that no one thought was possible but again, the real priority should be on the drinkability and long term sustainability of the cocktail.

As a side note, do you ever wonder where these terms like mixology come from? I mean, why not mixtronomy? Yes, I kind of like the sound of that. And instead of mixologist, can’t we call a bartender a mixican? Hmm, maybe that one doesn’t work so well.

Five Guys

Finally got a Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened up in Los Angeles close by. Solid burger but the real treat is the large selection of free toppings. Nothing like grilled green peppers to make a burger stand out. Fries are ok but could be crispier. I think it was a mistake not to order Cajun style.

Anyway, I just wanted an excuse to post this video.

Miller Lite Punch Top Can

This advertising campaign isn’t anything special- it’s just another gimmick to try to stir up a few months of excitement for an old product, so I won’t dwell on the big picture. The punch top can allows easy hole poking in the top to let air in so the beer streams out easily instead of in the familiar ‘glug glug’ fashion.

“For a smoother pour.”


Doesn’t anybody find it strange that in a commercial extolling the benefits of pouring beer from a can, that everybody is just drinking straight from the can? Maybe it’s tough to show a bunch of men roughing it in the wilderness and then breaking out the paper cups.

Also, everybody should be well aware that there is already a way to punch the top of cans built into the can. It’s the tab at the top that pops the first hole. Couldn’t Miller Lite be a bit more ingenious about this design and have you spin the tab around to use it again on a smaller hole? Meh, drumsticks are cooler.

Taco Bell

Guilty pleasure confession: I loves me some Taco Bell. I don’t know why but I do. I know it’s radioactive and often forces me to plan out a bathroom schedule in advance but the pleasure of eating meat with piles of cheese and sour cream is irresistible.

But another thing to like about the company as a whole is that they like to experiment. “Hey, Fritos taste good, so let’s put them in a taco!” “Ok, let’s make a hard and a soft taco combined and just glue them together with retried beans.” Needless to say, when it came time to incorporate Doritos into their food, Taco Bell did not disappoint.


No, that is not a hard taco shell- it is a giant Dorito shaped like a taco shell. I’m speechless. This is a delicious chip with a long history in this country, originally created in a taco flavor. The inventor recently died and his family threw Doritos on his grave to honor him. This is an epic chip, and it’s a proper way to see the man out.

Let’s all do our part.

Fig Newtons

Subject: Fig Newtons

Dear Nabisco,

I love your Fig Newtons and eat them almost every day. They are a great light and healthy snack.

I recently became alarmed at the possibility that these tasty cakes may be infested with fig wasps. What sort of quality assurance procedures ensure that wasps are not present in the figs used in your cookies?

Subject: Fig Newtons

From: "Kraft – Nabisco Email Team" <>

Thanks for visiting our web site.  We appreciate your interest in our Fig

We take special care to ensure our products are free of any foreign matter.
Figs are a natural fruit product of which seeds are an inherent part.  When
prepared into fig paste, the seeds are ground along with the fruit pulp.
You may be assured that these fruit seeds are completely wholesome.

Fig wasps do not lay eggs inside the fruit.  We only use reputable suppliers
for all of the wholesome ingredients used in Fig Newtons.  All raw materials
are inspected and must meet or exceed FDA guidelines.

We hope you continue to enjoy Fig Newton cookies. Please add our site,, to your bookmarks and visit us again soon!

I love the internet.