Many people are not aware of what oversized glasses are and what it means to them, so we will try to give a brief explanation.
Current legislation states that draught beer and cider must be dispensed in multiples of a half or a third of a pint and the glasses in which beer is normally served may be either Government stamped brim measures i.e. the glass must be completely full to the brim, or the glass may have a lined mark indicating the correct measure.
Understandably, the vast majority of British pubs use brim measure rather than oversize, lined glasses. Why?
Because beer has a head of froth, the glass cannot actually be completely filled to the top. The larger brewing industry claims that the froth is part of the beer and may be up to 5% of the glass by volume. That is, even if the glass appears to be full, you only get 95% of a pint. On top of this, Trading Standards will also normally give leeway of 5%. This means that when you order a pint, you are LEGALLY only entitled to a maximum of 90% of the pint you paid for.
Oversize, lined glasses enable the pub to serve a full pint of beer PLUS your head on top, with no wastage or spillage. Working back from the figures above this could give you, the customer, a saving of up to 10%, equating to 30p on a £3 pint. Of course, those pubs not using lined glasses could in theory be saving this amount every time you pay for a pint!
We are informed that BeerHeadZ is the only pub in Bassetlaw using oversize, lined glassware. BeerHeadZ guarantee a FULL MEASURE of quality beer AND value for money every time you visit the bar!
Well done BeerHeadZ!
The only way to dispense a full pint is to use a lined glass. I first raised this issue to CAMRA back in the 60’s when I proposed a motion to promote and support the use of lined glasses in all pubs. As Chairman of the East Lancs branch, I was bitterly (no pun intended) disappointed to see the motion summarly dismissed!
I resigned my membership shortly afterwards, when I realised the awful truth was that Camra Ltd owned several pubs which would of course suffer a loss of the short measure bonus earnings.
Nowadays, I read that CAMRA support the use of lined glasses, but have done little to further their uptake.
I well remember the introduction of “to and fro “meter pumps accompanied by (mandatory?) lined glasses to check the measure was correct. When these pumps disappeared for whatever reason, the lined glasses also departed.
Trading Standards seem to be powerless to uphold the law, it is common knowledge that £millions illegal profits are being made by publicans. Joe consumer generally doesn’t seem to care either.
I now very rarely visit a pub because I object to all the government tax rakes compounded by the short measure scam. It is very sad that I now buy my beer from supermarkets because I am guaranteed full measure and a low price. It is indeed fortunate that there are many quality real ales and craft beers available that I can drink in the comfort of my home. This growing trend is of course not good for the pubs, but one outstanding example I do visit is Weatherspoons where generally a low price is accompanied by a decent (almost full) measure. A campaign for lined glasses is what is needed and CAMRA could use this as part of their “revitalisation” policy.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Tony.
The matter is not as black-and-white as it seems. By using oversized glasses we do give STACKS of beer away, purely because 99% of the time staff serve over the line. Despite instructing over and over again not to pass the line, it still happens. This is why the majority of pubs will not use them. Conversly, if the beer is even ONE millimetre below the line, customers complain!
But even this is not the whole story. By using lined glasses (even if serving slightly over the line) all the beer from the pump stays in the glass. With full-to-brim glassware, the server keeps puling and pulling with beer flowing over the side and into the drip trays – we’ve all seen that – which ultimately ends up down the drain. Heartbreaking!
Now, onto a commercial view. A landlord many years ago explained it to me quite eloquently. He told me that he didn’t regard it as a ‘pint’ of beer, it was a ‘unit’ of beer. He knew how many saleable pints he got from a cask, he knew how much the cask was, so he knew how much to sell each ‘unit’ for to maintain his margin. So if customers insisted on lined glasses, the ‘unit’ price would go up.
And so it would, I accepted, BUT – the price would only go up once! After making switch to lined glasses and adjusting the price accordingly, status quo would be maintained and all parties would be happy. It never happened though!
The legal arguments of over-under measures and allowances can wait for another day, but rest assured, a correctly pulled pint in a lined glass could be up to 30p better value to that of a brim measure glass. At BeerHeadZ, we prefer to keep that 30p in the glass and not chuck it down the plug hole.