James Bond Swaps Martini for Heineken, Bottled, Not Canned

Daniel Craig and Sean Connery as James Bond
Source: Sony Pictures and United Artists
Daniel Craig and Sean Connery as James Bond

James Bond tossing back a cold one?

Yes, you heard that right. 007 will be reaching for a Heineken, not his signature martini — shaken, not stirred — in the upcoming Bond flick, "Skyfall," as part of a six-figure cross-promotion deal, reported by Ad Age. Bond, currently played by actor Daniel Craig, also will star in a Heineken ad, and Bond images will be on the beer's packaging.

Bond purists are calling it sacrilege. The iconic Bond image and personality is closely connected to the vodka martini.

Ian Fleming, who created the character in 1953, had Bond deliver elaborate cocktail orders in his books. (Bond's legendary recipe: mix of two parts vodka to one part dry vermouth, strained through ice and served in a v-shaped glass with an olive.)

While earlier Bonds such as Sean Connery stuck closely to this image, dressing formally and carrying on about their having their martinis shaken, not stirred. Craig's take on the secret agent seems less concerned by such things.

In the film "Casino Royale," Craig told a bartender, "Do I look like I give a damn?" when he was asked how he wanted his martini.

The debate about Bond and beer is an issue that has surfaced before, and the takeaway has been that Bond would need to drink his beer without having it ruin his suave image.

Perhaps this is the right time to put this to the test. Who's to say what is more sophisticated: beer, wine or spirits.

Consider this: Although beer has been losing market share to wine and spirits, more consumers have been turning to craft beers. These brews, often made by small independent brewers, have a more upscale image than your typical domestic beers.

Certainly, Heineken may be hoping to grab a piece of Bond's mystique. The brand is the second-largest import in the U.S., trailing Corona. But sales have been struggling in recent years. According to Beer Marketer's Insights, shipments fell 2.9 percent in 2011, although sales this year have been on the upswing.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Follow Christina Cheddar Berk on Twitter @ccheddarberk.