Pint Controversy Spills Over in Vancouver

Photo credit: Tim Dobson | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Tim Dobson | Wikimedia Commons

Are you getting enough beer for your buck?

Maybe not, according to a sobering new investigative report in the Vancouver Sun. Reporters scoured the city’s bars and discovered that some are shortchanging their patrons on pints.

By law, a pint of beer must be 20 ounces.  However, some establishments are serving up “pints” that are anywhere from 18 ounces to 14 ounces.  The total loss to thirsty beer drinkers is estimated to be equivalent to two Olympic-sized swimming pools or, in monetary terms, $50 million.

Discovering the under-pours required some creative sleuthing (video here) by newspaper staff. Reporter Larry Pynn ordered pints in dozens of bars and secretly measured the volume, pouring the beer out of the glass and making use of special measuring containers.

Many of the worst offenders are listed on the Vancouver Sun website.  In fairness, however, many bars did serve full, honest-to-goodness pints, including the Alibi Room on Alexander Street, Rogue in Waterfront Station, the Whip just off Main Street and Library Square on West Georgia.

pint-of-beer-with-some-breadPart of the problem seems to be that not everyone understands exactly what a pint is. Many consumers fail to realize that “pint” isn’t just a synonym for “glass” – It’s a legal unit of measurement.  According to the Weights and Measures Act, “a pint contains 20 ounces … not including the head or foam.”

The bars caught underserving offered a variety of excuses.  Some blamed the size of the glasses they were using, others blamed technical issues like keg temperature and some simply misunderstood the volume of a pint.

Photo credit: Shaggy359

Photo credit: Shaggy359

One important note: The investigation only looked at bars that actually advertised pints for sale.  More and more establishments in the city are moving away from the pint and serving sleeves or glasses.  Neither of these terms have any legal definition and bars are free to set the volume themselves.

What do you think about the pint controversy? Let us know below. 

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One Response to Pint Controversy Spills Over in Vancouver

  1. Richard Trippel

    Honestly? I think they should all be charged under the appropriate section of the Weights and Measures Act. They knew exactly what they were doing. And the collection of excuses really ticks me off. You don’t run a multi million dollar business and get to claim insanity when you gat caught.
    In other sections of the food and beverage industry they are always checking their competitors claims and measures. I hope all the “Good” establishments get together and hold their feet to the fire.
    What these “short pour houses” did was theft. Pure and simple. And then lie about it by saying they didn’t know, or the dog ate my homework, etc.
    What would you do if it was a gallon of gas?
    It comes under the same regulations and same regulatory body.
    I look forward to reading about their day in court…
    Cheers!

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