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Want some style with your substance?

How cool is this? A beer vessel made of aluminum with a long neck and bottle cap.

Is it a bottle? Is it a can? Who cares? These long, tall beer containers from Michelob are sleek and shiny, in metallic and jewel tones. Anheuser-Busch, testing the bottles in Tampa and other markets, hopes they're so visually hot that they'll appeal to the upscale club crowd that sneers at plebeian six-pack cans. They're also in liquor stores.

Although the latest twist in beer packaging is much ado about image, aluminum bottles have been around in cosmetics and food for a while (think hair spray and nonstick vegetable spray). They may have some advantages for beer. Iron City, the first big U.S. brewer to use aluminum bottles, says they keep beer cold almost an hour longer than glass bottles.

They're also safer in football crowds and at the beach. Plus it's a bottle you can crush into a forehead.

_ CHRIS SHERMAN

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