U.K. Finally Allows Pubs to Sell Something Other Than a Pint
Well that headline is not entirely correct of course as there are three measures that pubs and restaurants are allowed to sell beer and cider in. These are the pint (568 ml), the half pint (284 ml) and there’s also a third-of-a-pint measure (189 ml). Surprise your landlord on your next pub visit by asking for that last one and see what happens.
What’s the origin of the British pint then? Incredibly it dates back to an Act of Parliament in 1698. It’s difficult to tell why the original defined measure is quite so big but 568ml does equate to 20 imperial fluid ounces so quite possibly it was just a round number. Regulations surrounding the size are taken very seriously by licensing bodies in the U.K. and each pint glass was historically stamped with a certification stating that the glass is indeed one pint. Recently, in line with European Union policy, the letters CE have been becoming more common as a Europe wide industry standard.
1698 Act of Parliament
So, just over three hundred years after the 1698 Act of Parliament set the original measures the current U.K. conservative government has decided, probably wisely, that there’s no real need for a such a big measure, or a half (or third measure). However they won’t be able to serve any old measure and make up a price for it, the new measure will also be set at what is actually a two thirds of a pint level. It’s equivalent to an Australian ‘schooner’ and is around 400 ml.
The new measure should be advantageous in a couple of ways, firstly it’s supposed to be a more attractive size for women drinkers, secondly the smaller measure is in some ways a health measure as it may help cut down per capita drinking (although this seems to be unlikely), thirdly, for those of us who like our beer cold but can’t drink a pint fast enough it will be a little easier.
Lastly of course there’s really no reason not to, unless you’re an establishment faced with cost of buying new glasses and automatically calibrated pumps.