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cloudesley
02-13-2004, 03:14 PM
PINT FIGHT 2004
Fight for the Pint you paid for.
The National Pist (http://www.pist.ca)
one pint should equals one pint.

By A.G. Morgan.

Every day thousands of Canadian drinkers are cheated out of twelve to sixty percent of the beer they buy at pubs, bars, and restaurants. And a growing number of Canadian citizens are beginning to realize what The National Pist has been crying out for years: that it’s time to get the pint you paid for!



While the nation was flocking to theatres to watch Star Wars, the Canadian government was robbing them of their right to an entire pint. In 1977 the metric system overtook the restaurants and bars of Canada and the imperial pint ceased to be a legally recognized measurement for alcoholic beverages. As a result, Canada has become a country of short sellers who will charge you a pint’s worth of alcohol for anything between 8 to 23 ounces of beer.

According to Weights & Measures Devices of Canada, one pint, which equals 20oz. or 568.2ml, may be served as much as 12 oz. short. That means one cup, or 8oz., can still be called a "pint." Even the new so-called standard ‘Pint Glass’ in Canada is equal to only 500ml, or 17.6 oz. If you go to a pub where they use only 16oz. ‘pint’ glasses, a $6.00 pint of Guinness leaves you out more than a dollar’s worth of beer. You’re short a whole ‘pint’ if you buy five! The problem is that the size of your pint is determined not by government regulation but by the man or woman at the beer tap.


If you go to a pub where they use only 16oz. ‘pint’ glasses, a $6.00 pint of Guinness leaves you out more than a dollar’s worth of beer.

We’ve all seen the commercials: one pint of beer (8-20 oz.) equals one glass of wine (8oz.) equals one shot of hard liquor (1oz.). Without a precise standard, though, this phrase is misleading and potentially dangerous. Knowing how much you are drinking is important not just for legal reasons, but also for your own welfare. Alcohol is a controlled substance and is heavily regulated for the safety of the consumer. Imagine if you had a prescription for a controlled substance in a 50mg dosage and the pharmacists gave you up to 40% more or less than you needed? The potential for danger is obvious. Regulating the size of a pint glass is not just a consumer affair, but a question of public safety!

While the detriment to safety may be hard to gauge, the loss to your wallet is not. Here’s how the numbers break down and leave you broke. Given that, at best, a Canadian pint measures 17.6 (500ml) and costs an average of $6.00, you’re getting 88% of what you pay for. This translates to a loss of 72¢ per pint. If that seems insignificant – 72¢ won’t even get you a biscotti at Starbuck’s – consider that Canadian pubs, bars and restaurants sold 4,612,645 ‘pints’ of draught beer in 2002, which means that consumers got gouged $2,889,014 in one year, or nearly $8,000 every day.

Despite these millions of dollars lost to the consumer every year, the Canadian government refuses to acknowledge the importance of the issue -- to them it’s just small beer. Although the Competion Bureau of Canada has the authority to enforce a Pint Policy, they don’t. If you feel your pints have been poorly poured, they might review your complaint, but in most cases, complainants are better off keeping their grievances to themselves. An investigation will likely only result in contacting the offending parties informally to encourage voluntary compliance. In extreme cases, the Bureau may issue a public alert to educate consumers against being "misled by certain marketing practices," or they may employ "various tools" to obtain voluntary compliance. Only as a last resort will the Competition Bureau take a case to the courts. In other words, the Competition Bureau is not about to act on the matter without a sustained public attempt to draw attention to it.

Unlike Canadians, the British have a tradition of standing up fortheir pints. In the Middle Ages , the Chester Mystery Plays depicted the story of the Harrowing of Hell, in which the resurrected Jesus frees all the souls languishing in the eternal fires – all, that is, except the barkeep who sold short pints. In recent years, British consumers were estimated to be losing as much as 1 million ($2.4 million CAD) every day on short pints before they brought in the Fair Measures Act, which recognized a full pint. Tony Blair, in his bid for Prime Minister, promised British consumers the Fair Measures Act as part of his platform. CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, still fights to ensure that customers get those pints they deserve. The success of British advocacy groups is demonstrated by the fact that, while the rest of the UK parcels its goods out in metric, pubs still sell their beer by the imperial pint. In the heart of metric Europe, Austria has made it illegal to sell draught beer in anything other than a pint. The EU itself has been forced to recognize the pint as the legal measurement for draught beer.

Fortunately for Canadian consumers, the fair pint movement has crossed the Atlantic and is coming to a frosty head in our country. Comedian and celebrity Colin Mochrie, in a recent conversation with The National Pist, expressed his surprise and disbelief: “I think it’s outrageous that we haven’t got pints. What’s happened to the Canada of my youth?... Drinking pints – it’s part of our heritage!”

“I think it’s outrageous that we haven’t got pints. What’s happened to the Canada of my youth?... Drinking pints – it’s part of our heritage!” -Colin Mochrie




Even our national media has taken notice. CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera recently interviewed The National Pist founder Cloudesley Hobbs on the pint issue, and DNTO commentator Nick Purdon has picked up the issue and run with it. As Purdon points out: "Health care is complicated.... But pints are simple. Anyone can understand the importance of real pints in real pint glasses. And besides it's our heritage. Let's give the government hell over this one!" Purdon, who has aired his hunt for the perfect pint every Saturday for a month now, intends to take the matter all the way to Paul Martin. Given this kind of attention, and considering that an election is on the horizon, the fight for a fair pint stands a fighting chance of becoming a plank in candidates’ platforms. With your help it will.

The next step is up to you. Never before have Canadian beer drinkers been presented with such an opportunity to make their voices heard. DNTO has set up a ‘pint hotline’ where you can phone in, voice your outrage and get information at 204-788-3182. The National Pist also encourages pint drinkers to make themselves heard at their local pub. Make Saturday, February 17th Pint-Fight Day! Signs, posters, and pint-sized coffins are more than appropriate. For suggestions on turning your slow Saturday afternoon into a harvest of grassroots action, contact The National Pist at our website: www.pist.ca. This February The National Pist will take the fight to the next level: we will be faxing out the pint petition to local residences and businesses so YOU can join in. The Pint Petition can also be downloaded from our website.

Our most important step in the fight for a fair pint is our petition. Take the time to defend your rights. If you want the pint you pay for, sign the petition and we’ll march it to Parliament, with DNTO and drinkers across this country at our side.

GET THE PINT YOU PAID FOR –DEMAND NOTHING LESS THAN A REAL PINT.

The National Pist (http://www.pist.ca)

Richard English
02-13-2004, 03:52 PM
In spite of the comments made about the success of CAMRA's campaign in Britain, the battle still goes on Although the Imperial pint is the legal measure, many unscrupulous Landlords have been taking to serving short by counting the head as part of the pint. The head is, of course, 99% gas. Some publicans have taken to putting sparklers onto their beer engines (these are devices that restrict the flow of beer and make it foam and thus have a bigger head).

In the south of England beer is not meant to be served with a big head and thus it is possible to get a pint into a brim-measure glass. In the north, where they prefer their beer with a larger head, the use of oversize glasses is common to allow for the head.

Regardless of the short measure that many drinkers are getting, the Government refuse to take action and, indeed, have said that weights and measures inspectors (the people responsible for checking that consumers get what they've paid for) should not take action unless a pint if over 10% short.

So the battle goes on and I, for one, have written many times to the Government departments responsible. If you want to do the same, contact CAMRA and they'll tell you what to do.

cloudesley
02-13-2004, 04:17 PM
Thank you for your support in the pint fight. we have contacted CAMRA and sadly heard nothing back, even from the small Canadian wing of it.

In Canada it's a worse case scenario where often pubs, clubs, restaurants, etc... have “pints” listed on their menu's, but serve their draught in glasses as little as 12oz. 12oz is a frequent serving size here for Belgium beers in goblet glasses. I have even been to pubs that have listed 1$ pints in large print and received only an 8oz serving.

The most common scenario is the “metric pint” which is 500ml, which is at best 12% short of a real pint –not including head.

We are not arguing about the pour, so much as we are about the glass. Listing the beer as a “pint” and serving it in a glass that could not even hold a pint should be considered fraud, but according to Measures Canada they do not recognize the term pint as being the same as calling it a 20oz serving – so sadly its legal to sell it short.

Luckily our campaign is making some headway. We have managed to get coverage for the issue on national radio for 7 weeks in a row and have had a couple of other city and provincial papers promise to write articles about it too.

CBC’s program Definitely Not The Oprea (DNTO) has set up a ‘pint hotline’ where you can phone in, voice your outrage and get information at 204-788-3182. You can listen in via the net at www.cbc.ca radio one, Saturday afternoons.

We have a petition in circulation http://www.pist.ca/pintpetition.pdf –which we will present to parliament following the upcoming federal election. We are also doing all we can to make it an issue of the various parties platforms.

Any and all support is appreciated.

kgaugler
02-13-2004, 04:34 PM
Wouldn't the best thing to do be boycotting the establishments selling "short pints?" If consumers continue to allow the vendors to make the rules up as they go along, it's kind of their fault (imho). I hate to get the government more involved in things like what you can legally call a pint. I guess it's not such a big deal to me 'cause a pint is only 16oz. here anyway:rolleyes: but at least I know what a pint is everywhere I go. A "glass" on the other hand, can be just about anything.

Bruno_78
02-13-2004, 04:43 PM
I would have to agree with the above, I don't think I could frequent an establishment that deliberately shorted my pint. However, on the financial end of the matter, if the government mandates that a pint must be a pint, wouldn't the pub owners just raise the price to compensate for the extra beer that they're dispensing? In good faith I would like to think that most people wouldn't do that, but realty makes me think different.

cloudesley
02-13-2004, 04:49 PM
I would be against a boycott. I do believe in suporting your local.

Most pubs use promotional glasswear that they recieve from the brewers reps and the brewers won't change their glasses without considerable pressure.

I opt for the places with real pints, but i travel a lot and as part of my business The National Pist (http://www.pist.ca) I go to a lot of pubs, often only once or thrice.

I would prefer not to be cheated on my pints and You often can't find out how big the pint is until you get it in your hand, even then its tricky as the glass are deceptivly shaped to look larger, somtimes its thicker glass or slighty narrower, etc. A metric pint and an imperial pint are fairly hard to distinguish by looking at. I have a 17.5oz glass here that is noticably larger than a 20oz one, it just holds less.

cloudesley
02-13-2004, 04:57 PM
beer in Canada is government regulated and sold by volume. In some cases it would be a more expensive pint, but in most cases the pubs are already charging that price.

It's become quite a fad to serve beer in its brand name glasses, but to be listed as a 'pint' and priced that way. Guinness is usually a full pint- Stella almost never is --they usually cost very close to the same price.

What we are calling for is that the government recognize a pint as a pint - that way if you are not serving it in a pint you cannot use that specific term. You can call it a sleeve, mug, glass, etc.. but if you call it a pint than it damm well ought to be one.

Until the government accepts that a pint is a term meaning 20oz (568.2ml) there is no protection for the consumer.

Bruno_78
02-13-2004, 04:58 PM
I don't understand why you would want to support your local even though they're cheating you out of your pint. It seems like supporting them by continuing to give them your money is in fact empowering them to continue to do the same, and gives them no reason to change. I don't know many businesses who wouldn't give less and charge more if people are going to keep on paying for it.

cloudesley
02-13-2004, 05:09 PM
just to be clear.

we are not asking that beer only be sold in pints.

we are asking that if the pub lists it on its menu as a pint that it should equal a pint.

Then if their is a pub that is fraudulently mislabeling their pints the consumer could complain, with the law on their side.

bigmf
02-13-2004, 05:11 PM
Fight the power brother. :cool:

I tire of having to understand the different pints. Some places (rare) list how much they have in their different servings, i.e. Glass- 300 ml, mug - 500 ml, pitcher 1l, but its rare. We have one place in town that serves American pints, two that serve imperial pints and one that follows the above method. It wouldn't bother me if they all took any of the above positions .(except for the american pint - I like a bigger serving size than that).

cloudesley
02-13-2004, 05:22 PM
supporting your local.

Often pubs have a variety of glass sizes and I buy the ones that are full pints and not the others.

I believe strongly in the Bristish tradition of the pub being the hub of the neighborhood offering a lot more than just beer. I can get beer at home I go to the pub for the pub.

When they are selling short right now it is not illegal. One can complain but for the moment the law is totally on their side. They may not even have considered what they're doing fowl at all. In Regina where our paper is published most pubs have changed to full pints or changed their menu once they realized that consumers felt slighted.

If you raise the pint issue to your pub its likely they'll listen.

cloudesley
02-13-2004, 05:29 PM
now don't get me wrong to make this a standard across the nation the only reasonable way is to have the pint recognized and to allow consumers with complaints a real legal right to do so.

So long as a pint is undefined, there is no real legal recourse availible to the consumer.

kgaugler
02-13-2004, 05:42 PM
Originally posted by cloudesley
supporting your local.

In Regina where our paper is published most pubs have changed to full pints or changed their menu once they realized that consumers felt slighted.

If you raise the pint issue to your pub its likely they'll listen.

That is what my point was trying to be. If you complain enough (and loudly enough) the establishments will have to start listening and calling a pint a pint. I guess then the only problem is whether it's an imperial pint or a metric pint. That is where I see some government agency coming to a consensus as to just what measure you will use.

Richard English
02-13-2004, 05:54 PM
Several good points here.

Firstly, I am sorry you've had no answer from CAMRA but really you should ocntact them in England. The "overseas" branches are not officially recognised and may well not pass information back. Get in touch with John Cotrell who's the man who seems to deal with overseas affairs for CAMRA. He's at: john.cottrell@camra.org.uk

I am surprised that Canada's laws on measures are so different from the UK's, Canada being part of the Commonwealth.

In the UK it is illegal to sell beer except in pints or multiples and fractions of pints. All foodstuffs must be sold in clearly defined amounts and it is a criminal offence to sell a pint that is not a pint (although, as I hav e said, the authorities will not prosecute for short measure that's less than 10% short.

Why not write to the Queen - she's the Queen of Canada as well as of the UK - and the both Philip and Charles enjoy a pint :-)

cloudesley
02-13-2004, 06:02 PM
The heart of the argument here is false advertizing without recourse avalible to the consumer.

ONE PINT SHOULD EQUAL ONE PINT.
www.pist.ca

Across the metric world the pint has remained.

The EU recognized the pint as a legal measurement in 1995.

In Austria it is law that beer be dispensed in pints.

Since the early 90's and ongoing: Tony Blair Championed the pint and made it legal. In Britian the argument has been refined to compenste for foam.

A metric pint is a misnomer its really a half-litre.

In Canada we had pints and in 1977 we almost lost them, but I very recently found out, they were given grace till 1979. As almost zero, if not totally zero, media attention was given to the issue the pints silently disapeared. Our pints were 20oz (568.2 ml) and we want them back.

- The pint has been the standard measurement for beer and ale for over 500 years.
Oxford English Dictionary-c1483 CAXTON Dialogues 7 Cannes of two stope Pintes and half-pintes.

cloudesley
02-13-2004, 06:08 PM
thanks for the contact info I will fire off an email to CAMRA right away, although I won't hold my breath. I had never considered contacting the crown, but hey why not -mind you I'll go via the govenor general and lieutenants there of.

Richard English
02-13-2004, 06:50 PM
Quote "...In Austria it is law that beer be dispensed in pints..."

And in the UK too, as I have already said. And we are speaking here of the noble and magnificant Imperial pint, not the "metric" pint or the even smaller US pint.

When I go for a pint I want a pint - not damp smear in the glass that wouldn't drown a large gnat!

Canada, your Commonwealth partner stands with you on this - such a shame that CAMRA hasn't been there to champion the Imperial pint - as it has been for us.

steveh
02-14-2004, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by cloudesley
In Austria it is law that beer be dispensed in pints.

Austria, or Australia? I was drinking from liter and half-liter mugs in Austria.

S.

cloudesley
02-14-2004, 11:38 AM
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_686659.html?menu


Austrian bar selling beer in litres faces prosecution

Trading standards bosses, who forced British shopkeepers to go metric, are threatening to prosecute an Austrian theme bar which sells beer in litres.

Austrian Andrea Schultz started a bierkeller in Worcester two months ago, selling beer from her home country in earthenware one-litre jars.

But trading standards officers have warned she faces prosecution because beer in Britain must be sold by the pint.

Ms Schultz, who runs the Cardinal's Hat bar, is threatening to challenge the order in the courts.

She told The Sun: "We had a visit from trading standards and I was stunned when I then got a letter. I've been told I'm breaking the law. It's crazy."

She believes the beer, which is imported from Salzburg, tastes better in the traditional flutes because the tops are "not so wide and keep in the flavour".

She has won support from the Metric Martyrs, a group fighting the introduction of Euro measures on British food.

They include Sunderland greengrocer Steve Thoburn, 38, who was given a six-month conditional discharge for selling bananas by the pound last year.

Mr Thoburn said: "It was barmy to stop me and it's just as crazy saying that Andrea can't sell Austrian beer by the litre. Again it's a case of bureaucrats trying to slap their rules on traders."

Trading standards spokesman John Dell said : "Free flowing beer must be sold by the pint and that measure is here to stay. The only other items which are allowed to be sold in pints are milk and orange juice which is delivered to the doorstep."


Story filed: 08:15 Wednesday 9th October 2002

sorry I guess i just glanced this and did not realize it took place in Britian.

studentofbeer
02-14-2004, 02:10 PM
i have to say, i feel like this happens a lot in the U.S. too and I hate not really knowing what I'm getting. I remember being forced to go out to the grande luxe cafe (a crappy cheesecake factory spawn) and ordering a pint of goose before my table was ready. what i got was certainly not what i would call a pint, but when i asked the bartender she said, yep, that's a pint. so i shrugged and vowed never to go back to that place.

Even more often I run across short pours though. The bartender will fill a beer up with a lot of head and then the waiter/waitress will bring it and the head will have fallen some and i am left with a short glass. My friend thinks it's obnoxious of me to complain, but sometimes I do nicely ask the waiter/waitress to top it off to a full serving. i wish there were laws in the U.S. about measurements so I could feel more justified. this happens at respectible places too, like goose island brewpub.

Richard English
02-14-2004, 02:31 PM
All beer sold in Britain, other than in sealed containers) must be sold by the pint, or exact fractions or multiples thereof. All glasses supplied by the pub must have the official pint or half-pint stamp. If you bring your own container to be filled, then the barman should pour a measure into an officially stamped container and then pour that into your glass.

All bottles and other sealed containers must show the quantity on them.

Beer and beer measures are taken very seriously in the UK - I wish it were so elsewhere!

Indeed, if you are not happy with either the quality or quantity of your pint then it is quite in order - indeed expected - that you take it back to be topped up or changed.

Beaver
02-14-2004, 04:32 PM
Those are some interesting British laws. I personally don't care what size the beer is. I wish everyone would explicitly say though. Some places will tell you exactly how many oz each serving is.

Richard English
02-15-2004, 05:01 AM
Quote "...I personally don't care what size the beer is. I wish everyone would explicitly say though..."

The whole point about the laws is to protect the customer. Pre-packaged foodstauffs must have their weight shown on the container; "loose" foodstuffs must be dispensed in certain precise quantities. "A glass" or "a bowl" is not permitted.

For everything apart from beer and cider measures are now metric (although Imperial measures can be shown as a secondary measurement). Beer and cider must be sold in Imperial pints, or fractions or multiples thereof.

The smallect measure usually sold is half an Imperial pint (284.1 ml; 0.6005 US pints; 9.608 US fluid ounces). Few drinkers would want anything smaller but, should you want a "taster" to see whether the drink was to your liking, then most pubs will pour you one - usually about two mouthfuls. They won't charge since this would be illegal.

The reason why the measures used are specific is that nobody (and I mean nobody) would be able quickly to tell what size a serving was if it was in a measurement other than one with which he or she is familiar. After all, how many of you in the USA would have known how many US fluid ounces there were in an Imperial half pint?. And had the unit been shown as 1.575 go, how many of you, apart from the Japanese readers, would have known that this is the same as an Imperial half pint?

And if, as Beaver suggests, the establishment uses ounces, would that really help? Are we talking 9.608 US fluid ounces, or 10 Imperial fluid ounces. If you were in, say, Bermuda, which would it be?

Come to England; things are simpler here!

Beaver
02-15-2004, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by Richard English

And if, as Beaver suggests, the establishment uses ounces, would that really help? Are we talking 9.608 US fluid ounces, or 10 Imperial fluid ounces. If you were in, say, Bermuda, which would it be?

Come to England; things are simpler here!

Obviously, if in the US, I'd expect it to be US fluid ounces. If there would be any doubt, that would be part of making it explicit (US vs Imperial).

Richard English
02-15-2004, 12:58 PM
Quote "...Obviously, if in the US, I'd expect it to be US fluid ounces...."

Quite so. But in that 90% of the world that isn't the USA? And in those places where both measures are in use (the Caribbean, Bermuda)

Even made explicit as to what ounce (or pint) was meant, how many would know how many US fluid ounces was equal to, say, an Imperial pint?

Standard measure is, to my mind, the way to go. By all means let each country have its own standard but to allow an anarchic mix within a country can cause nothing but trouble.

evilredlight
02-15-2004, 07:08 PM
Originally posted by studentofbeer

Even more often I run across short pours though. The bartender will fill a beer up with a lot of head and then the waiter/waitress will bring it and the head will have fallen some and i am left with a short glass. My friend thinks it's obnoxious of me to complain, but sometimes I do nicely ask the waiter/waitress to top it off to a full serving. i wish there were laws in the U.S. about measurements so I could feel more justified. this happens at respectible places too, like goose island brewpub.

I have a much more obnoxious way to say this:

when you are served a beer with a excessive amount of head
after it has fallen Ask the server "do you think you fit a shot scotch into this beer"
If they say "yes, probably"
push it across the bar to them and Exclaim "then its bloody well not full, is it?"

studentofbeer
02-15-2004, 09:06 PM
roflmao! i can just hear myself doing it with an affected scottish accent. love it.

mmmBeer...
02-15-2004, 09:14 PM
I don’t know…but maybe Ontario is different (or maybe it is Ottawa). I worked in a pub for several years and to serve a short pint was a no-no. Generally, if you order a micro in Ottawa you will get a very full sleeve. I have several of them at home <<cough, cough>> and they are definitely full pints. In fact, our halves tend to be closer to 2/3 than a half.

European imports are a different story though…such as Stella and Hoegarden…are poured to the 500cl mark with the head above. I have never been short on Guinness, Smithwicks, Kilkenny etc. Only the specialty glasses marked at 500cl are short. I know what I am getting when I order these beers.

Most places here will tell you the number of oz in a pint and the price associated with it.

While I believe in the local…sell me short and you are no longer my local…there is enough competition here to support moving to the better pub. From personal experience in Montreal, I find it hard to believe that there is only one “local” available. The British concept of the “local” really doesn’t seem to fit in Canadian cities…as I have 3 pubs all within one block on each other. I have spent a lot of time in different cities in this country, and unless it is a small town; you have a choice…so express your opinion to your publican and make them listen…if not go somewhere you are respected and let them know why you are there!

Richard English
02-16-2004, 03:52 AM
Quote "...The British concept of the “local” really doesn’t seem to fit in Canadian cities…as I have 3 pubs all within one block on each other. I have spent a lot of time in different cities in this country, and unless it is a small town; you have a choice..."

I imagine by this statement you are suiggesting that, in a particular place, there is only one pub - "the local" and that the situation is different in Canada. This is not a UK/Canada difference; this is a village/town/city difference.

In a large UK city, as in Montreal, there will be many pubs within a few minutes walk of one another; in a small town (such as Reigate, where I live) there will be maybe 15-20; in a village there may be only one or two.

cloudesley
02-18-2004, 02:52 AM
The National Pist Pint fight Rally was tonight -it had about 3o supporters attend and got a considerable number of signatures on the petition.

The media came in droves. It will be on tv and radio, local and national.

The shows that it will be on or may be on are:

Definitely Not The Opera -Saturday afternoon CBC radio.
CTV news Regina and maybe national
CBC Saskatchewan
CBC Disclosure?
CBCTV The National?
Global News?
and hopefully some newspapers too.
including of course us- The National Pist www.pist.ca

It is begining to look like we can make this issue big enough to get it on the ballot in the Next Election. I heard the NDP party had some one there.

cloudesley
02-18-2004, 02:55 AM
everybody can listen to it live via the web this Saturday afternoon on CBC's DNTO http://www.cbc.ca/audio.html