Department of Weights and Measures (or Why No One Wants to Be My Friend Anymore)

Before I begin this rant of mine, you need to know a few things. First and foremost, I hate to be taken for a fool.  Now that that’s out of the way, we have these facts:

  • 1 pint equals 16 ounces
  • Guinness generally most commonly comes one of two ways at a bar: from the tap or out of a can (sometimes from a bottle, but we’re not going to mention that for this story)
  • A can of Guinness contains 14.9 ounces
  • Guinness (the company) has two versions of their Guinness glasses that they give to bars: the 15-ounce glass for the establishments that serve Guinness from cans, and the 16-ounce glass for those who serve it on tap.

OK, got that?  Now we’re ready for the story to begin.

Last weekend Luke and I visited our favorite restaurant in the next town over for lunch.  We ordered beers, Luke’s was on tap, my Guinness was in a can.  The waitress, as she should, gave me the can and a glass into which I poured my beer and noticed that the “pint” glasses she gave to both of us didn’t even hold a whole can of Guinness. A 14.9-ounce can.  I didn’t have my handy measuring cups with me at the time, but it looked to me like these “pint” glasses held about 12 ounces.  Now, as wrong as this is, it doesn’t come as a huge shock to me.  Despite prices staying the same, everything has gotten smaller, from the boxes cereal comes in to the half gallon of ice cream which is now 1.5 quarts. The thing about that is the ice cream containers actually say “1.5 quarts”.  Because that’s what they hold.  But the menus at restaurants say that beer is served in pints or pitchers when in actuality you’re getting 12-14 ounces, not 16.

Now as annoying and wrong as this is to me, it was all made worse the day after we were served our 12-ounce “pints” when we stopped into the same restaurant for a quick bite and a different waitress took the 12-ounce “pint” glass and poured 12 ounces of my Guinness into it, then threw away the beer that was left in the can.  I saw red.  But because I am not the mean and terrible person I wish I sometimes was, I let it go without saying anything to her.  I said a lot about it to Luke and to our friends afterward and to the whole Internet now.  THAT WAS SO WRONG.  And it needs to stop.

I joked that Luke and I should come in next weekend with fake Department of Weights and Measures badges to audit the “pints” that they’re selling.  Luke thought we should bring our pint glasses in from home and demand to be served beer in those.  It really just irks me that the menu claims that you’re getting a pint when you are not.  If they changed the menu to say that beer comes in “glasses or pitchers”, now that would be fine.  It’s the specification that you’re getting a pint when you’re actually getting 12 ounces that really drives me crazy.

And one last story of Guinness injustice to make you really think I’m annoying and trivial.  Remember the factoid at the beginning about the two sizes of Guinness glasses?  Another restaurant we go to on occasion serves Guinness “pints” from the tap, yet serves them in the 15-ounce glasses designed for bars serving beer in cans. I realized as soon as the waitress put my glass down next to Luke’s that my glass was smaller.  This really annoys me.

And so, to close out this picky and pointless rant, I would just like to say this, restaurants: Please DO NOT claim to serve PINTS when you’re only serving 3/4 OF A PINT. It is so very wrong.

Don’t make me get my badge and measuring cups out.



  1. Sister, I’m with you on the rage. You’re actually much more pleasant about it than I would be, partially because I’m Canadian and worked in a pub for umpteen years. To me a pint is a British pint, or 20 ounces. We serve HALF PINTS in a 12 ounce glass. A 16 oz pint would make me feel hard done by from the get-go.

    There have been times when my fiance has had to hold me back from lunging over the bar and pouring the pint myself when I see more than a finger of head on the top, but if you added insult to injury and served it to me Lilliputian style AND THEN threw out the rest of the can? Man, perish the thought.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s