Are Smaller Glasses in Pubs and Clubs the Answer to Britain’s Binge-Drinking?

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The Wessex Scene can reveal that pubs and clubs will soon have the option to serve smaller alcoholic drinks, as part of a government strategy to tackle Britain’s drinking levels.

The rules will apply to a wide range of alcohol, including wine, cider and lager, and ‘will represent one of the most radical shake-ups of the pint by an Act of Parliament in 1698’, according to the national press. An example of one of the new, smaller measurements is the ‘Australian schooner’, two-thirds of a pint. The rules are reported to be implemented ‘in four months’ time’. David Willetts, Science Minister, says that ‘fixed quantities [will be]kept – but with greater flexibility’ in terms of choice.

Such a system whereby smaller quantities of alcohol can be sold is a potential solution to Britain’s drinking problem. Worryingly, ‘UK drinkers reguarly top polls as the heaviest alcohol consumers in Europe’. Furthermore, the University of Southampton is sometimes seen to have a bad reputation when it comes to drinking, an issue that has, for example, been joked about on BBC programme University Challenge.

Despite this, do students agree with the new system, whereby wine will be able to be bought in less than 75 ml quantities? Will the smaller quantities make a difference in terms of Southampton students’ drinking habits? Considering recent uproar caused by student nightclub Sobar’s decision to discontinue the quadvod drink, it seems unlikely.

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Discussion9 Comments

  1. avatar

    No. Its an unfortunate fact that the British public can’t drink sensibly, or if they do binge, act like twats. Students should learn the value of casually getting pissed in a nice quiet pub rather than getting train-wrecked in noisy clubs.

  2. avatar

    Maybe I’m just ill informed but I wasn’t aware that the option for a bar to serve smaller quanties was anything to do with tackling binge drinking?
    Science Minister David Willetts gives the reason ‘We are freeing business so they can innovate and create new products to meet the demands of their customers.’
    I havn’t heard anything about this being a bid to tackle the binge drinking problem?

    Nicola
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    Hi Rob,

    It has been associated with cutting down drinking- the idea has been described as ‘a Government drive to curb binge-drinking’. Hope this helps.

    Nicola X

    Sam
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    Out of curiosity so long as the venue makes you aware of what you’re buying I didnt realise that Pubs and Clubs were limited to selling only in Pints and Half Pints?

    If that is the case, surely there has always been a smaller option (having a half rather than a pint).

    I suppose its positive that they’re trying to tackle it, but I would see the possible problems surrounding binge drinking as cultural rather than legislative. The solution is not higher duty, or smaller glasses, or stopping the selling specific drinks, but looking at the education side, from a very young age, and looking at how we can change the culture surrounding it.

    I would think the its the result of 5 year terms of government that they only really want a 5 year solution, and substantial work on educating the young, before they start drinking, and changing the media image of drink, would take substantially longer than the government would have the attention span for.

    Just my 2 cents though.

  3. avatar

    Are you sure that wine by 75ml glass is correct?
    maybe a typo for 175ml?

    And last paragraph, i understood that it wasnt Sobar’s own decision; more like the council cracking down which is a good thing.

    Its not fair for bars to ignore laws to benefit themselfs and cheat their competition.

  4. avatar

    In short I think the answer is no. I think the answer is mainly with the off-trade.

    There too many cheap drinks deals in supermarkets and off-licence premises. The concept of ‘pre-drinking’ before going out to beat even the very cheapest of drinks promotions in bars is where many of the problems arise. It is all too common for people to become drunk before leaving for bars.

    We all have a strange attitude to alcohol in this country and until that changes we will still have binge drinking.

  5. avatar

    Many pubs and clubs will try and get around this by still offering the larger sized drinks as the norm, and only serve smaller quantities if specifically asked for – which few will do due to a sheer personal choice to have the larger, or perhaps out of cultural pressure to drink more.

    I say this because generally venues assume 250ml glasses of wine and pints of lager are the ‘regular’ quantity and price, it’s not often that 175ml or half pints are the first thought of bar staff!

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