back to article Short measures cost UK boozers £481m

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) today released sobering figures showing that a quarter of all pints served in the UK contain less than 95 per cent of a full measure - at an estimated annual cost of £481m to punters. The campaigning organisation's "The Full Pints" survey used figures from a sample group of 25 local authorities …

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Gold badge

'cos it's two firkin expensive, that's why...

Here in the real world (somewhere across the ditch), you frequently get the old ice-cream (as in "Can you stick a flake in that love") beer.

Nobody complains. Even in Central (a.k.a. ex-soviet) Europe where people will fight over used shoes and second-hand McDonalds freebie toys (don't ask).

Why? 'cos it's not significant in the greater scheme of things financially as beer is bloody cheap and it's not worth arguing about the odd 5cl.

This is a Sweaty Gordon problem, not a licensed victuallers problem.

[The firkin is the British standard measure of excess in units of two. e.g: Two firkin much, Two firkin many, Two firkin cold.....]

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Silver badge

Better Idea?

I think I have a solution which ought to keep everyone satisfied.

If money were no object, the *best* solution to the problem would be to ensure that all dispensing equipment provides a perfect 284 or 568ml. of beer (hand pumps have been working exactly this way for years, before someone had the bright idea to use compressed gas to force beer from the barrel instead of drawing it). But this is impractical, as it will require a large outlay. The next best solution would be the use of oversized glasses with a visible mark indicating a perfect pint and some "headroom" above the liquid. Even this will require every existing "pint to brim" glass to be replaced, which will not be a cheap process.

However, assuming all the glasses in any one pub are geometrically identical, it would be a -very- simple procedure to inscribe a line at the 500ml. point on a "pint to brim" glass using something like a carpenter's marking gauge, but fitted with a diamond or tungsten carbide stylus. Adding the line would take only a few seconds per glass, and can even be done as the glasses are being washed.

The extra 68ml. of space in the glass would then serve as a 13.6% oversize, so the glass would be "full" with just 88% liquid -- which fits in nicely with CAMRA's own estimates of pints typically being around 5% short.

Of course, one would expect a consequent reduction in the price of a "new", 500ml. "pint" (we could keep the name as a slang term). Pubs would have to display "before and after" conversion charts showing accurate price comparisons between 568 and 500ml. measures, so drinkers could reassure themselves that the price per millilitre of beer was unchanged. Pubs already using automated dispensing equipment to dispense exactly 284 or 568ml. of beer would have to be allowed to continue to do so; but these aren't the ones serving short measures anyway.

While the necessary changes in the law were going through, we could also outlaw the practice of charging more for two half-pints (which would now be quarter-litres) than one full pint (or half-litre).

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Countin' the Cost

So have the experts also calculated the lost calories attributed to this shocking sherbert shortfall? Let's convert that to kilos (new age, me) and find out what contribution to obesity reduction these skimming servers are making.

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Bronze badge

Requesting related data

Has anyone counted the cost of spilt pints on the boozing population?

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Anonymous Coward

Not just pints....

I worked for a car and comedy club a few years ago. All the spirits were free poured with measures. we had 25ml and 50ml measures and were told to pour short measures to 'avoid spilling it and wasting it'. this mean't that people were loosing 10-20% of the measure.

I didnt do it, unless the manager was over my shoulder. the prices they were charging, the punters desevered full measures!

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Re a better idea

There are or were pumps avialable to the licensed trade that gave exact measures besides the hand siphon pumps I can remember them being used in the late sixties in pubs around Devonport and Plymouth,mind you it may have been to keep the dockers and Royal Navy from trashing the place if it was found they were being short changed.

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Anonymous Coward

Oversized Glasses

Here in the Emerald Isle we've been serving pints in 10% oversized glasses since the dawn of time (as far as I'm aware anyway)

The only time that breaks down is when some sales rep gives the bar 100's of free promotional glasses imported from the UK - if you see the little crown on the side of the glass it means it's not a real Irish pint!! Everyone is duly encouraged to demand a real pint.

Oh yeah and our shots are bigger too... 25ml? - we laugh at those puny measures!!!!

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The Big Pint

oversized glasses 2 and a solution!

Guinness did an ad campaign a couple of years back (probably only here in Ireland) where the slogan was "the big pint" - the reason? That they argued that when you get a pint of the black stuff you actually get less that a pint of liquid as the head, lovely as it is, uses up precious space in the glass - so you're getting less than a pint of the actual liquid. Hence the larger glasses, and the witty(!) slogan.

Back to the main point: easiest way for the punters to get their precious money's worth? Fforget the fancy pumps and measuring techniques - if you get less than a full pint:

you (to barman): "do you sell much X around here?" (x being your choice of poison)

barman: "yeah a bit"

you: "well you'd sell more if you filled the glass up!"

easy!

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not my problem

I may be an uncouth colonial, but drinking straight from the stubbie avoids all these issues

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