Here’s a petition you would think the Pint Pundit could get behind. Here’s another across the pond. I am certainly aware of the problem and have nearly wept at what passes for a pint these days. A full pint should be at least 16 US fluid ounces or a bit more using British Imperial ounces. Often, at bars and pubs across this great land, what you get is far below that, sometimes approaching what has become the de facto standard serving, 12 US fluid ounces for which I blame the bottling industry.
It’s unclear to me why the state should certify pint glasses in pubs. It’s one thing if a pub falsely advertises that it’s serving full, “honest” pints when it isn’t. That could be grounds for a false advertising claim, but I don’t see isolated cases as requiring a blanket law (but see discussion of the British situation below which might fall under false advertising/fraud). What is more likely occurring is that bars and pubs across the US serve a glass of beer that may or may not be a full pint and most of their customers buy and quaff such brews with no complaint, but a small number of folks feel as if they are being cheated because they aren’t getting served pints. I myself would like to see the market standard here become a full pint, but I’m not willing to enforce such preferences through law or have the burden of enforcement borne by those who don’t care or, heaven forfend, don’t drink. Such a law would fail to achieve its objective anyway as the two links above demonstrate because pubs cheat. The British petition is for greater enforcement of the existing law, while the US petition is calling for a British-style law. I also doubt that in the age of MADD and other neoprohibitionist groups, a call to increase the standard beer serving would be very popular. Bars and pubs should be a ble to serve whatever size beverages they want to and consumers should be free to purchase them or go to a place that serves what they think is an adequate serving.
If US consumers really want full, “honest” pints, they will demand such and bars and other establishments will comply. In fact, if demand were truly large enough for “true” pints, I think you would see a market-based certifying agency emerge, like Underwriters Laboratories or Trust-e, that would certify the glasses in a particular pub. Such a pub could then have “Honest Pint” certified glasses made, or, more likely, put an “HP” seal on the door to show it’s pints are actually pints. The certifying organization could conduct surprise visits to police the practices of its certified pubs, thereby discouraging cheating. This solution is also preferable to a legal regime in that the enforcement and other costs are borne by those who directly benefit: pubs and their patrons.
So who wants to form an Honest Pint Certification Organization?
Headline explanation here, as if you didn’t already know.
Links via Shaun.