LONDON – Britain is calling time on more than 300 years of history, by relaxing rules on pub glass sizes.
Pubs will soon be able to serve a smaller beer, holding about 400 milliliters — a measure popular in some parts of Australia where it is known as a schooner.
Science Minister David Willetts said Tuesday that centuries old rules governing the sale of alcohol are being relaxed in response to health concerns and following demands from businesses to sell sizes better suited to modern waistlines and wallets.
The British pint — a 568 milliliter pour — has been the standard size for beer or cider since it was introduced in 1698. Bars are currently permitted to serve beer only as a pint, or as a third or a half of that measure.
Willetts said legislation would be introduced within months allowing pubs and bars to serve smaller glasses of beer and wine.
"This is exactly the sort of unnecessary red tape the government wants to remove," Willetts said in a statement. "We have listened to consumers and businesses. They have called for fixed quantities to be kept but with greater flexibility."
The change may also help Britain's government reduce the country's seemingly unquenchable thirst for alcohol.
Liam Donaldson, then Britain's chief medical officer, said in 2009 that while per capita alcohol consumption had fallen since 1970 in many European countries, it had increased by 40 percent in Britain,
Britain's government has pledged to do more to help people reduce excessive drinking.
Willetts said the new rules would also allow drinkers to buy smaller servings of wine, in a 75 milliliter glass. Current laws mean bars aren't allowed to sell wine in glasses smaller than 125 milliliters, preventing premises from offering customers small samples of pricey bottles.
Lawmakers had also previously raised health concerns over a trend for bars to serve wine only in giant 250 milliliter goblets, rather than the smaller 125 milliliter glass.