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Hamm's Signs Beer-Guzzling Bear as New Mascot
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SEATTLE, Washington - Hamm's Beer -- best known for its bear mascot -- announced late Wednesday that it has signed a three-year contract with 'Mickey', a black bear from the Baker Lake Resort and Campgrounds. The Hamm's brand, held since 1999 by Miller Brewing, has had only limited market penetration. "When Hamm's was in its heyday, it had a cartoon bear, a live action bear (played by Sasha the Bear), t-shirts, even toys," said Miller representative Zachary Stocher, "Now hardly anyone recognizes the name. When we read about Mickey's bender in the park, we knew we had the bear that could put our brand back on the radar."

"Hamm's already got a chance to turn a generation of kids into alcoholics."
-- Martin Wong, BOOZA President
Mickey was spotted by a resort worker, passed out and surrounded by beer cans. "What struck me about the bear, after I got over the shock," explained Brianna Lison, "Was that there were unopened cans of Red Dog and Budweiser lying around him as well. He had sampled a few, but when he settled into Miller Genuine Draft, that's when he apparently started really putting them back."

Not everyone thinks hiring Mickey is appropriate. "Hamm's already got a chance to turn a generation of kids into alcoholics," complained Martin Wong, "They shouldn't get a second bite at the apple. It's a new era, you can't market alcohol just any way you please." Wong is president of Better Off On Zero Alcohol, an organization dedicated to limiting or banning the sale of alcohol. "At BOOZA, we don't feel it's appropriate to exploit a alcohol-addicted bear for selling alcohol. It's immoral, it's wrong, and we will fight it."

"Those were the days!" reminisced Sasha the Bear, "We would never drink on the set in those days, but after the shoot, oh, let me tell you! Earl and I would put them back like water, and with Hamm's you could get away with it. I'm not sure they actually put alcohol in the stuff, but it went down smooth." After a moment, she added, "This new guy, this Mickey? Is he ... single?"

Mickey's agent said he is not currently accepting any interviews during a cooling-off period stipulated in his contract, but he will soon be announcing his availability for talk shows and other public venues.
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