Friday, 19 August 2011

Two Thirds Legislation Delayed?


The Publican's Morning Advertiser had the news the other day that Heineken is to launch a range of two-thirds pint glasses to trade customers from November 2011.They say that "Under new regulations coming into force on 1 October, pubs will be able to sell draught beer and cider in two-thirds glasses"

Now a little bird tells me that this legislation has been delayed until next spring at the earliest and that UK glass suppliers have no samples to offer breweries. I quote from my source "As a result of knowing this, our manufacturers currently have no pre-production samples or images yet as styles for production are still being decided.".  Clearly this would, if true, disappoint some and be a matter of indifference to others.

Has anyone else heard this and does anyone know if this is actually the case?

My proposed article about the two thirds measure is delayed until the position becomes clear.  And the first person that calls it a schooner to me will be knocked out.

28 comments:

Erlangernick said...

WTF is a "schooner"?

Tyson said...

If it was being delayed, I would have expected someone in the trade ro have commented on the fact, but I haven't seen anything mentioned.

Tandleman said...

Erlangernick. An Australin term

Tyson: Me too, but what I have written came from the trade.

Tandleman said...

Australian even.

Erlangernick said...

Was winding you up a bit: they apparently call a glass of some nonspecific (AFAIK) size a "schooner" up in Seattle, but I've never quite understood what it was. You've probably never been up that way to those savage lands north of Oregon.

Owen said...

"Schooner" is a poor term for two reasons:

1.Even in Australia it refers to a shape of glass, and not a size. Asking for a schooner will get you a different sized drink depending on where you are.

2. In Britain, it already refers to a measure of sherry.

We call a third a third, and a half a half, so why not a two-thirds?

Barm said...

How is the poor sod behind the bar supposed to distinguish between an order for two-thirds and an order for two thirds?

Rabidbarfly said...

I find it very hard to believe there are no sample glasses to offer breweries, sounds like a steaming pile to me.

Owen said...

@Barm - by asking which the customer meant? Not ideal, I agree.

In the mid-19th century, a 2/3 measure was referred to as a "can".

Unfortunately, asking for a can of bitter at a pub may not have the desired effect.

Tandleman said...

RBF. You have some sample glasses then? I really don't know about this either, so I'm looking for evidence.

Bernard said...

I still fail to see the point of a 2/3 glass... don't want a pint? order a half!

but anyway since beer may be sold in multiples of one third and ane half pint, I can't see why we need legislation to permit selling 2/3s (or even 5/6 if you really feel like it!). personally I'd rather see the focus on making 1/3 more widely available

Erlangernick said...

I still think legislation requiring oversized glasses of all sizes should be the top priority!

Curmudgeon said...

What would be the benefit to anyone of deferring it? If pub owners don't want to serve it, they don't need to buy any new glasses, so nobody can plead "extra costs".

RedNev said...

I can't see the 2/3 glass catching on, except perhaps when badged for a particular beer, as it is only 1/6 of a pint more than a half. Prices might be significantly marked up too, because comparing the prices of a pint and a 2/3 will be harder than those of a pint and a 1/2.

The law had to be changed because alcohol in pubs can be sold only in specified measures. The law specifies a pint, a half, a third but does not mention two thirds, so it's illegal to use a 2/3 measure. The law permits the sale of spirits in multiples, but not beer. Silly, but true.

Owen said...

Multiples of halves are permitted of course, but that doesn't help to get 2/3 of a pint.

(Though the obvious refrain is "Two thirds of X and a pint glass please, barman")

The 1/6 of a pint difference isn't negligible, being 3.1/3 fluid ounces, or about half a (175ml) glass of wine. With stringer beers that can be more than a unit of alcohol.

Rabidbarfly said...

Tandy - The sample glasses I have are just branded shakers that you can get from people like Vertical drinks which go with their products such as Sierra Nevada, Flying Dog and others, they're not lined but are meant for bottles to be poured into.
I find it hard to believe it's difficult to get them with govt stamps and lines for 2/3rd on them. My convoluted point is that the glassware is available, why not the govt stamp/line?
As many people have said, it might not catch on, but at least the choice is there.

Owen said...

I'd imagine the stamp isn't available because it indicates legality and the measure isn't legal...

RedNev said...

Sorry, Owen, the law does not permit multiples of halves; it permits pints and halves, which isn't the same thing. A pub could not, for instance, sell beer in 1.5 pint glasses, for exactly the same reason why 2/3 glasses weren't permitted.

I was answering Bernard's query why a change in the law is needed for 2/3 measures to be used.

I mentioned spirits in case anyone asked, "What about double scotches?" The law specifically states that you can sell spirits in multiples of the prescribed measures, which it doesn't for beer.

Curmudgeon said...

@Nev: No, the law allows the sale of multiples of halves and pints, but not of multiples of thirds. A while back, Wetherspoons had a short-lived promotion of 30 oz glasses, and Humphrey Higgins, a local CAMRA stalwart of the 1980s, kept a quart glass behind the bar of the Castlewood in Stockport.

And, of course, that is what allows pubs to dispense four pints into a carrykeg.

RedNev said...

Whoops! Wrong about halves, but right about thirds. Oh well ...

Simon Johnson said...

I've got a glass with "2/3 pint" stamped on it, but it may well as have "blessed by monkey spunk" stamped on it for all it's worth. Until the legislation is passed, there's no stamp and there's no legal measure.

FWIW I think the (holds down feeling of vomit) 'craft keg' market will go nuts for the twotherr. Because it'll get punters trading up to pints rather than settling for halves.

Saga Of Nails said...

For wines and spirits the wording of the law is such, wines are licensed to be sold in measures of 125ml or 175ml, or multiples thereof. And the multiple is where we get the common measure of 250ml.

I don't actually see why beer and cider would be different. If it is different, then any pub which uses a yard of ale is already breaking the law. I'm pretty certain that you could already serve somebody two 1/3's and pour it into a 2/3 glass, so I really don't see why large companies are waiting for the law to change. Frankly stocking 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 and pints is likely to be a massive pain in the ass for pubs and clubs anyhow. A larger range of glasses, more shelf space required, making glass washing a more complicated and therefore longer process. Much more room for confusion and mistakes leading to wastage. and all this for what benefit exactly ? I suppose that they assume that some women will jump up from a half pint to two thirds. But equally some people will jump down from a pint to two thirds and other from a half to one third.

Thinking about it, I expect that they want the law to change so that they can offer beer in 2/3 measures without offering the 1/3 measure. If this is the case then it is a clearly cynical attempt to get women to drink 30% more when they visit a venue. (who would have thought, a multinational trying to get the law changed to benefit them?)

Owen said...

@SagaOfNails - As already pointed out several times, multiples of half a pint are already legal, so a "yard" is legal.

Not other measure for beer or cider is permitted in multiples.

Saga Of Nails said...

Thanks Owen. I didn't know that. Stupid antiquated laws that we have. I'm not against the idea as such, but I do think that it will make things much more complicated, and is primarily being pushed to let massive companies coerce intoxicated people into drinking more than they would otherwise.

Bernard said...

hmmm, seem to recall reading beer was permitted to be sold in multiples of thirds and halves, but that was about 12 years ago...

but, the 2/3 still seems utterly pointless - blokes who are concerned about image/bravado will still think anything less than a pint is girly. someone who wants a smaller measure will most likely still only want a half (like I say, in many cases I'd be quite happy with one third, or with the new Thornbridge Barley Wine 1/3 of a fluid ounce would have been enough!).

I can see far more benefit to a one third glass (for the drinker if not the pub!), insofar as some people will drink less, and in the case of festivals etc one can try more beers for a given consumption of ale. I for one would be seriously pissed off if the 2/3 measure were to replace the half as standard 'sub pint' measure

Cooking Lager said...

Heineken were giving these out for free to off trade customers that bought the mini home kegs. They are a nice size.

the comfy gill said...

Brains brewery of Cardiff ran a promotion last year featuring a glass marked Tapas.

These were 3 x 1/3 glasses set in a block of wood.
The idea was to serve tasters, a good idea, but an awkward and time consuming for both server and drinker.

Curmudgeon said...

"I can see far more benefit to a one third glass (for the drinker if not the pub!)"

I can't see any demand for one-third measures outside of festivals and specialist beer pubs. Although legal, I can't think of a single mainstream pub that offers them.