Monday, 28 September 2009

Welcome to the twother

I see the government have given a positive response to the weights & measures consultation and said they will legislate to allow beer measures of two-thirds of a pint “at the earliest opportunity” – although that probably means it won’t happen before the General Election. I’ve said before that I think this is a good idea as it will allow people to have a worthwhile-seeming measure of beer that is significantly less than a pint. It’s especially appropriate for stronger beers of 5% ABV or more. However, it remains to be seen how enthusiastically pubs and drinkers will take it up. It’s one in the eye for metrication zealots that in effect the government are creating a new Imperial measure.


  1. I kind of doubt its benefits. It has more room to confuse and allow higher pricing than it has health or other advantages to the drinker.

  2. As I said on your blog, realistically, I doubt whether it will take off in a big way as drinkers are too set in their ways. But I can see it being popular in multi-beer pubs where people want to sample a range of beers but don't like drinking halves as psychologically they seem too small. Clearly it won't appeal to people who want to swill numerous pints of the same beer.

    It really would need to be called a schooner rather than a twother, though.

  3. I suspect we will find use of this measure starts to become a condition of publicans getting or keeping a licence. So while claiming to uphold the pint measure, they are really preparing for its abolition.

    Brian, follower of Deornoth

  4. I can't honestly see pints being phased out any time soon. I'm not saying it will never happen, but there's a whole raft of anti-drink measures further forward in the queue.

    If anything, I could see schooners leading to the effective demise of half-pints.

  5. At the Southport beerex, we had punters asking for 1/3 of a pint, even though glasses weren't marked for such a measure. When one moaned about this to me, I said he could have a third but I could only guess the measure and he'd have to pay for a half. He sulkily opted for a half.

    I can see it becoming a nightmare for both pubs and beer festivals if you have pints, halves, thirds and two thirds measures. Glass storage would be one headache. What about metered beers? Or would this measure only relate to free-flowing and cask beers?

    I expect that for the most part the only demand for 1/3 and 2/3 measures will come from certain pernickety cask ale drinkers. We all know the type.

  6. At Stockport Beer Festival there has been a demand for some years for nip measures of ciders and perries and stronger beers, so this year we put nip prices on the cask cards for these categories, and had nip lines put on the half-pint glasses. Minimal extra expense, no confusion, more satisfied punters.

    I wouldn't expect beer festivals to serve schooners even if they were legalised – the favoured measure seems to be a half in a pint glass, which will often be a bit over measure anyway.

    The argument about glassware for pubs isn't entirely convincing, as many pubs have already spent large sums of money on branded glassware for beer. They won't need more glasses overall, just a different mix. As I said above, I would expect schooners to largely kill off halves, not pints.

    Metered draught beer dispense has (sadly) virtually disappeared now anyway so I don't see that as being a stumbling block.

  7. I don't think it would be mandatory to serve in 2/3 measures. I don't serve in 1/3 because it just over complicates things. I might well take the same view of 2/3s. I'd like to reserve the option though.

    I agree, the pint will be here for a little while long.

  8. Can't wait to hear what the EU will make of this. ;-)

  9. wouldn't a 2/3 measure be a pair of nips?


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