Licensed to swill: 007 set to boost vodka sales

LONDON - Vodka is set for a likely sales boost after receiving the endorsement of hard-drinking high priest of cool James Bond, according to a study published Tuesday.

The British spy is preparing for his 24th silver-screen outing next month with the release of "Spectre", but it appears that the 007 agent has another type of spirit on his mind.

The iconic character has increasingly been knocking back the hard stuff, with latest incarnation Daniel Craig judged by far the booziest Bond.

He has drunk an average of 20 units of alcohol per film since his debut in 2006's Casino Royale, according to a study by British food and drink trade magazine The Grocer.

That compares with an average 12 units for Pierce Brosnan, 11 units for Sean Connery and just four or five units per film for Timothy Dalton.

The study even linked rising gin sales to a tie-up with the world's most powerful film franchise.

"It's no coincidence that gin's revival began around about the time Craig first came bounding out of the sea in those too-tight trolleys (swimming trunks) in 'Casino Royale'," it said.

"In that film Bond did away with his usual Vodka Martini and knocked back three Vesper Martinis (gin, vodka, vermouth) instead. In the following 'Quantum of Solace' he chewed through another six.

"Craig helped make gin cool again," it said.

But Craig himself said in an interview with Esquire magazine that he did not approve of his character's hard-partying lifestyle, saying there was "a great sadness" in Bond.

007 is "lonely" and beds beautiful women who end up leaving him, Craig said. "As a man gets older it's not a good look." Spectre will be Craig's fourth performance and will feature Django Unchained actor Christoph Waltz as his arch rival.

It is scheduled for worldwide release on November 6.

An offbeat study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in December 2013 analysed Bond's drinking habits, as described in the original Ian Fleming novels.

On the days when he was neither incarcerated nor in hospital, 007 glugged down an average 92 units of alcohol a week - four times the recommended amount.

"James Bond's level of alcohol intake puts him at high risk of multiple alcohol-related diseases and an early death," the tongue-in-cheek investigation said.

It added sardonically: "James Bond was unlikely to be able to stir his drinks, even if he would have wanted to, because of likely alcohol-induced tremor."