Fancy nipping for a quick two-thirds of a pint?
Does proposed new measure wet your whistle?
Here's some splendid news for those of you who can't in all conscience go into a boozer and ask for a half, but reckon that a full pint might hamper your post-Friday-lunchtime workplace performance: The National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML) is proposing to introduce a two-thirds of a pint measure which would "increase the flexibility of the pub and brewing industries to innovate in the presentation of beer to consumers".
This provocative suggestion appears in the NWML's snappily-titled Consultation on Specified Food Quantities, in which punters are invited to chip in their two bits' worth on the matter of quantities of ale, among other pressing concerns such as whether "specified quantities for unwrapped bread should be deregulated to allow unwrapped bread to be sold in any size".*
The consultation document (pdf) explains: "A number of business stakeholders from the beer and pub industries have proposed that the range of prescribed sizes be extended to include the use of ⅔ pint measures, which would allow pubs and bars greater flexibility in the service of draught beers, particularly in the premium imports sector of the market."
It ponders: "However, we would also want to give consideration as to whether it could lead to greater confusion for consumers through the presentation of beer in a wider range of sizes."
The NWML says it would be "grateful to receive the views of stakeholders on whether to permit the sale of ⅔ pint measure", so it's over to you lot. Given that the NWML notes it's already legal to dispense ale in one-third measures, and that's not a hugely popular size of liquid refreshment, we think we know what the general consensus will be on this one. ®
*Hmmmm. Sounds like a recipe for bread anarchy to us. Has the NWML properly considered the implications of infinite unwrapped bread sizes? No, we thought not.
The glasses should match the bottles
I agree with Steve Hosgood: 50 cl and 33 cl sound about right to me - and they're both not coincidentally the same size as beer bottles. Both half a pint (284 ml) or 250 ml are just too small to bother with for everyday drinking (yes, even for most girls I know), although I can see the use for 'taster' measures. As for the extra 68 ml (mouthful) in a pint? Well, that's the warm beer at the bottom of the glass that I'd rather not have to be paying for anyway!
What's the matter, lagerboy, afraid you might taste something?
1/3 pints are generally used in ale tasting sessions, some of us want to get through everything on offer and be blotto at the end, not before having a game of billiards.
Who's Gill anyway?
Sorry David Adams: the imperial Gill (used for UK spirits sales back in the 20th century) was/is a quarter pint, not a third.
Colloquially, the word 'gill' has also been used to refer to third pint and half pint measures, but that wasn't the legal definition used for licencing laws. Spirits have been sold in 25ml or 35ml multiples for years now, so the 'gill' is obsolete as far as licencing is concerned these days in the UK.
As far as I'm concerned, a proposal like this should be used as the catalyst for a long-overdue switch to metric measures anyway. Everyone else in Europe sells beer in 250ml, 330ml and 500ml sizes, and that seems perfectly sensible here. We should insist on two provisos for such a change IMHO:
1) The word 'pint' is redefined to mean 500ml. I'm sure no-one wants the awkward phrase of "three 500mls of bitter and a packet of crisps, please". I believe the word 'pint' still persists in Germany and Austria to mean 500ml anyway. And they've been metric for years.
2) Trading standards people to enforce a drop in prices of 12% during and after "pint resizing day" to reflect the change in volume of the product.