Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Schooner launched

It’s reported today that the government are going ahead with proposals to legalise two-third pint “schooner” measures for use in pubs. Personally I think this is a good idea as very often you just don’t want a full pint, especially of stronger beers, but a half just seems too small. I can see it proving popular in multi-beer pubs. However, I wonder whether traditional British conservatism will result in it being a still-born initiative.


  1. As long as pubs charge for the beer on a "pro-rata" basis, and not try and impose a premium rate for these "Schooners", then I think they are a good idea.

  2. I'd be surprised if their use becomes widespread. A 2/3 measure holds a mere 1/6th of a pint more than a half.

  3. Yes, you don't exactly see many 1/3 pint glasses do you?

  4. I can't see them taking off, myself. I honestly don't know many people who think a pint of a strong beer is too much, but a half too little. They will find a niche at beer festivals and perhaps, as you say, at certain pubs. Otherwise they seem a bit too gimmicky for everyday purposes.

  5. The spoons do thirds at their beer festivals, Ed, for people that want to try them all. You get a tray with 6 measures, 2 pints.

    Beer geeks at craft beer pubs may like paying over the odds for a short measure, but I doubt regular drinkers will embrace it.

  6. You can also get a tray with three measures making one pint, for the price of a pint (which is low to start with). I've got a lot of time for the Spoons - if only they weren't such bloody awful places to drink.

    The 'schooner' sounds like a solution looking for a problem. I regularly drink halves of cider and sometimes order a half of stronger beers (as in stronger than about 5.5%). Everyone drank beer by the half-pint 'glass' until about the time we won the World Cup, or that's what I've learned from old films.

  7. This has caused some interest in the ticking fraternity. It won't affect the majority who class a half as a valid tick, but those who insist on a pint may feel inclined to change their routine.

  8. Obviously people look at this in different ways, but for me a half, especially in a brim glass, always seems too small and, unless I can use it to top up a pre-existing pint glass, feels like something of a distress purchase. It comes across as a bit daft when, on a CAMRA pub crawl, ten people pile into a pub and double the amount of halves the pub would otherwise have sold all evening.

    On the other hand, there are circumstances where I want a beer, but am not looking to maximise consumption, where a schooner would seem perfectly adequate. So, personally, if schooners became widely accepted, I would often use them. In reality what could well happen is that they effectively supplant not pints but halves, which is maybe not what their proponents envisage.

  9. I'm often in a round with friends who drink faster than me (for the first hour or so). A schooner could be a useful answer to that problem.

  10. I think it's a very good move. Like you say, some beers you don't quite fancy a pint but a half isn't quite enough... However, there is the British conservatism which will hold it back in most places.

    The thing is that it's optional so the pubs who can benefit from them will add them to the shelves and those that don't will ignore them. Bars and pubs which sell stronger beers will find this a good thing (as long as it doesn't cost them money to get the glasses), as will their drinkers.

    I think I would use them often given the choice but I guess it remains to be seen in reality.

    What isn't mentioned here (and I didn't mention it on my blog) is that wine measures have also reduced. I think the overall expansion of choice is nothing but good for the consumer who can choose to use it or not.

  11. It's not strictly true to say that wine measures have reduced. Historically, 125ml (or the Imperial equivalent) was the standard measure. It is only relatively recently that pubs and restaurants have sought to "upsize" by offering 175ml and 250ml glasses as well or instead. All that has now been done is requiring the 125ml size to be offered, but the bigger ones can still be available alongside. A 125ml glass of 13.5% ABV wine is still 1.7 alcohol units.

    It's as if some pubs had decided to stop offering halves, but the government had now told them they had to.


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