11:25 28 October 2008
Going to the pub for a "twother" may not give the satisfaction of nipping out for a pint or even a swift half.
But a two-thirds pint could become a standard measure in bars and restaurants next year under proposals announced yesterday by the National Weights and Measures Laboratory.
Third-pint measures are occasionally found at beer festivals, where drinkers like to taste a variety of ales, and now two-third pints may become the tipple of choice for drinkers throughout the country.
In Australia the measure already exists and is known as a schooner. It was introduced there because drinkers complained that full pints of beer got too warm in the sunny climate. The weather is not yet a factor in Britain.
The idea was mooted by the British Beer and Pubs Association, which believes that it is the ideal glass for a high-strength beer or lager.
Rob Hayward, its chief executive, said: "I dont know what well call a two-thirds pint but we see it as a way of increasing consumer choice, especially for speciality beers. Some of these beers are higher strength in alcohol and it may be more appropriate to drink less than a pint.
"The new measure is also aimed at women who think a half is too small and a pint too big. Some popular fruit and wheat beers also leave a slight aftertaste and many people prefer a smaller volume."
Others in the trade disagree. Jonathan Mail, spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale, said that he could see no advantage for consumers.
He said: "I am not aware of any demand for this extra measure. We think the Government would do better to tackle the problem of drinkers who are getting short pints. There are still many pubs who serve pints 10 per cent short. The head should be on the top of the pint but the rule is so vague trading standards wont bring prosecutions."
He also suggested that drinkers would find it difficult to keep track of the number of alcoholic units they had consumed.
At present a standard pint of beer contains two units of alcohol, while a high-strength premium beer has three units and a strong half has one and a half units. JD Wetherspoon, which operates 700 pubs, could also see no reason for a two-thirds pint glass.
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The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is pleased that the law will be clarified for small measures served at wine tastings, but Jo McDonald, its policy officer, did not believe that pubs, bars and restaurants would offer 75ml servings of wine routinely. She was also against restricting wine measure. A recent survey of the industry found that of 103,000 premises selling wine, 62 per cent sold wine in 175ml measures, 30 per cent in 125ml glasses, and 23.5 per cent in 250ml quantities.
Alcohol Concern, the alcohol misuse charity, is to write a formal submission to the Government. An official said that changes in measures could lead to confusion among drinkers about units.
Source: The Times
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