Confused in Jackson, Mississippi asks:
Which is correct? Case of Beer or Case of Beers; Case of Coke or Case of Cokes. I know that it is a carton of cigarettes, but we tend to say case of beer and case of cokes.
This is a challenging question, especially for one who loves his home-brewed beer.
I would say "case of beer" and "case of Coke" just as I would say "case of champagne" or "case of Glenfiddich." We are talking about the kind of drink, even when we're using a brand name. Only when we start discussing individual portions should we use the plural: "I was so thirsty I drank three Cokes." (Note the capital letter—Coke is a brand name.) "After six beers, he was in no state to drive."
But in Canada we tend to treat "beer" as a plural: "We went down to the pub and had a few beer." This may not be "proper" English, but it's proper Canadian! When we use slang, however, we go back to normal plurals: "We went down to the pub and had a few brewskis."
Even Canadians, however, would say "beers" when discussing varieties of the beverage: "The beers of Canada are better than American beers." (I'm not saying they really are better, but try to find a Canadian who prefers American beers.)