Measuring Up

When pouring yourself a beer, most of us don’t lose sleep over differences in measurements and definitions.  A beer is a beer, whether poured from a bottle, tap, or beer engine.  There are small beers and big beers, generally speaking; attention is usually paid more to contents than the container.  But leave it to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) to get all size specific – for good reason, mind you – when talking about the size of a standard pint of beer.

National Geographic reports the BBPA’s efforts at new specificity in their August issue; the association’s concern on this issue stems from the U.K.’s declining beer consumption.  I wrote back in December about the alarming rate at which neighborhood British pubs were disappearing; not surprisingly, because Britons are drinking less beer.  According to recent numbers from the BBPA, “Brits drink some 23 million pints of beer a day, but sales have dropped 19 percent over the past six years, and 25 pubs close in an average week.”

The BBPA’s focus on measurement – or serving size – is indeed interesting when taken in context with their present legal constraints.  “British law has long dictated that pubs sell beer and cider only in an imperial pint (pictured), which is about 20 percent larger than a U.S. pint, or in glasses one-third or one-half that size. But this year Parliament is set to scrap several restrictions on weights and measures to encourage innovation. This would legalize a two-thirds pint—an amount some are calling a schooner based on a similar-size Australian pour.”

Fundamentally, the association hopes the ability to order a smaller glass of beer would lead to a greater number of Brits willing to duck in for a quick drink or two.  But should this two thirds solution take effect, we Americans are not likely to notice: two thirds of a British Imperial Pint equates almost exactly to a standard 12 ounce pour.  Which really means, for those of us with future travel plans in Britain, we can order an American sized beer at British prices.  So if you’re lucky enough to visit the U.K. and find yourself in of the few remaining local pubs, take my advice: go big or go home.

Picture courtesy of National Geographic Magazine

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Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 9:26 am  Comments Off on Measuring Up  
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