Two-thirds of a pint, anyone?


An announcement that the National Weights and Measurements Laboratory (NWML) is considering introducing a ‘two-thirds of a pint’ measurement into pubs across Britain raises questions as to why publicans and drinkers cannot deal in any quantity they want.

Left to the free-market, consumers would be free to demand whatever quantities of drink they wanted and firms would satisfy those demands in order to make greater profits. Even if the government did not choose to regulate the size of drinks we consume a system of standardisation would no doubt emerge, but one which was more responsive the needs of drinkers rather than being dictated to them.

The arguments for state intervention in the quantity of our drinks seem somewhat restricted from the outset. Perhaps the government thinks that it can tackle the over consumption of alcohol as people will no longer be forced to have a whole pint. This would be a narrow and ineffective goal for the government to aim for.

Why does the state decide what size glasses our alcohol must come in but they do not apply the same logic across the board? For example, when ordering soft drinks, some pubs fill the glass with ice before serving, others do not. The government has not felt inclined to interfere here, so why elsewhere?

Essentially, we should be able to say how much we drink and in what size glass. At the very least, this would lead to a much better allocation of resources when purchasing drinks!