Sunday, 12 October 2014

Doing things by halves

I've just come across this picture on a website called the Fowndry (sic) which at great expense will provide you with toys like these half pint glasses. On the thread below, one person has written, "Brilliant,Freakin Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and another, "Awesome!!!" My own assessment is "Mildly amusing", without a plethora of exclamation marks.

If you like the visual joke, they're £8.99 for one or £14.99 for a pair. Or you could just use a normal half pint glass.

However, it did get me thinking about halves. I tend not to drink halves, except perhaps at the end of the night as a final top-up. It is often said that you drink halves at a faster rate than you do pints because after a couple of mouthfuls, there doesn't seem much left, so you're more inclined just to down the remainder.

Yesterday I spent the day in Liverpool at a friend's wedding. When I returned to Southport, I had a less than a quarter of an hour wait for the last bus, and so popped in the Tea Rooms in Birkdale (a bar, not a café) for a swift half of Wainwright. I drank it and left with more than five minutes to spare. I'm certain that if I'd ordered a pint, I wouldn't have drunk anywhere near a half of it by that time.

I appreciate that a sample of one isn't scientifically valid, but it does seem a common perception that halves go down at a faster rate than pints. If that's the case, then if you used halves only, you'd sell more beer. Is that the reason, I wonder, why it seems that CAMRA beer festivals are increasingly supplying half pint glasses only?

To my mind, the dark beer on the left is a short measure.


  1. There are of course some beers that are mainly sold in halves, especially strong ales.

    I often buy a half of an unfamiliar beer at a festival to see if I like it and then buy a pint of it if I do.

  2. We have crossed swords in the past as to whether halves are a "distress purchase" - but with the ever-growing number of new and different beers they are becoming more popular amongst real ale drinkers.

  3. If you used one of the glasses above in a pub, now that would be a distress purchase.

  4. And of course, if you pick up a pint glass at a beer festival and buy halves, you'll often get close to two thirds.

  5. I didn't think I was the only one who'd noticed that trick, Matt!

    It's definitely my experience that two halves will slide down quicker than a pint.


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