A recent Trading Standards investigation has shown that 9 out of 10 pints served in pubs fell short of an actual pint, with an average shortfall of 4% (costing you 10p on a £2.50 pint) and a maximum deficit of a whacking 11.8%.
Full measures has long been a key campaigning point for CAMRA, and it’s something I once felt very strongly about. However, I have to say CAMRA very much shot itself in the foot on the issue by actively encouraging pubs to swap oversize glasses for brim measure ones, when it happened to coincide with replacing electric metered dispense with handpumps, and nowadays I tend to be rather more relaxed about it.
So long as pubs don’t obviously take the piss, I’m quite happy with a tight, shallow head on a brim measure pint, and I suspect most drinkers feel the same. A brim glass fits more comfortably in the hand than an oversize one. If the measure is markedly short I will politely ask for a top-up, and struggle to remember when such a request was last refused. I also don’t detect any great concern amongst drinkers that they are being short-changed. There are far more important things to devote your energies to.
And, while if you are served short measure of petrol, it will hit you in the wallet later on, short measure beer will only leave you feeling marginally less groggy the next morning, unless it is so grossly short that you end up having an unplanned extra half to compensate. You also have to wonder whether the likes of Don Shenker are actually quite keen on short measures as it means drinkers end up inadvertently consuming less without really noticing it.
It does annoy me, though, when pubs present you with a pint where the head has fallen some way short of the top of a brim measure glass – that is piss-poor presentation. And it’s disappointing the number of CAMRA members I see blithely taking pints away from the bar with inch-deep heads – I spotted one at our local Pub of the Month presentation only last Tuesday (in a pub where a top-up would have been gladly given if asked for).