- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 4, 2006

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. — Beer usually passes through much faster than this.

The latest Coors tank convoy — this time five immense tanks — clogged the Fredericksburg area’s traffic arteries Saturday night like deep-fried cheesecake.

Then again, it wasn’t really beer. It was what electrician Mike Lacy, 21, of Ruther Glen, aptly described as “an oversized keg on wheels — a giant rolling keg.”

Actually five giant, empty beer kegs on wheels.

The key word, though, might be “empty.”

Although others may have spent their Saturday night partying and drinking beer, hundreds of people lined the Coors route from King George County to Elkton not to consume brew, but to celebrate the abstract idea of it — huge, abstract quantities of Coors that weren’t really there.

“Spotsylvania is boring,” said Melvin Lamonds, 18, a Riverbend High School student who waited for more than an hour in the Giant parking lot west of Central Park on State Route 3 to catch a glimpse of the tanks.

“This is probably the most interesting thing happening in Spotsylvania,” Mr. Lamonds said.

“I agree with that,” said Samantha Rose, a 14-year-old friend.

“If it wasn’t for this, I’d be home on the Internet and talking to friends on the phone,” she said.

“I’ve got nothing better to do,” said a third friend, David Wallace, 17, a Chancellor High School student.

The three students sat in the back of a pickup truck listening to music to pass the time.

They weren’t alone — far from it.

There was a long line of cars in the Spotsylvania Giant parking lot facing Route 3. Waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Jose Perez of Fredericksburg pulled up in his car to ask what was going on — what so many digital-camera-toting people were waiting for late on a Saturday night.

“That’s a little weird,” he said when he heard the explanation. “I think I’d rather spend my time playing pool.”

So, probably, would the drivers for Lockwood Brothers Inc., which is moving 40 stainless-steel fermenting tanks from King George to the Coors Brewing Co. facility in Elkton, a distance of approximately 100 miles.

Each of the tanks is about 70 feet long and 21 feet in diameter and weighs 70,000 pounds. They are part of a Coors project to transform the Elkton plant from a packaging and distribution center into the company’s East Coast brewery.

Nine convoys have now moved 31 of the 40 tanks from King George to Elkton.

The size of the tanks and their transport vehicles has required a great deal of planning and coordination among Coors, Lockwood Brothers, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia State Police in an effort to minimize disruption of traffic.

But instead of generating complaints, it has created a spectator sport.

Every Saturday night during this ongoing process, Coors seems to be saying, “Give me your bored, your huddled masses yearning to pass the time without spending a dime ”

Every Saturday night, people eagerly come out. Coors also is moving tanks in midweek late-night convoys, but those treks haven’t drawn as many spectators.

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