Britain's Office of Measurement Proposes Two-Thirds Pint for Beer

Britain's beloved pint may be facing a downsizing.

The office that sets measurement standards said Friday that its proposed two-thirds pint measure for draft beer and cider could be on tap as soon as April.

Proponents of the new glass size say they like it because it would give consumers more options at the bar.

The pint is so much a part of British life that it survived the European Union switch to half-liters. And there already is a half-pint glass for those who want a lighter lunch or a clearer head.

Supporters of the new-size glass hope it will appeal to female drinkers, who traditionally eschew a full pint.

"It's hard ordering a drink on a date," said Emma Ross, 28, a postgraduate student having a beer with lunch in a London pub. "If I order a half-pint, it's ladylike, but where's my sense of adventure? If I order a pint, I know how to have a good time, but I don't want to advertise it to every guy standing at the bar."

Ross was drinking a half-pint of Stella Artois. For lunch at least, she said she probably wouldn't have ordered a two-thirds pint, which would contain slightly more than 12 ounces.

Neil Williams, spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association, said the two-thirds pint would be similar in size to many Continental bottled beers, encouraging customers to order these brews by the draft.

"It's not for every consumer or every venue," Williams said. "It just makes sense to add the two-thirds pint because for some customers and styles of beer, it'll just seem like the right size."

Williams said the new measurement would appeal to the lunch crowd and drinkers of specialty beers with higher alcohol contents.

But Jonathan Mail, spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale, said a two-thirds pint could lead to too much drinking.

"People tend to measure their consumption by the number of pints they've drunk," Mail said. "If they're drinking a mix of pints and two-thirds pints, then that becomes quite a complicated calculation after a few drinks."

The National Weights and Measurements Laboratory is currently consulting bar owners and others on the proposed new glass size. If the laboratory adds the two-thirds pint as a standard unit of measurement, British pubs will have the option of serving draft beer by the partial pint.