News Column

Michigan Bill to Guarantee a Pint of Beer is a Pint

October 6, 2013

By Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press

Some Michigan lawmakers say they want to make sure pub goers don't get shortchanged on their beer.

A bill introduced last week would amend the Liquor Control Act to make it an an offense to "advertise or sell any glass of beer as a pint in this state unless that glass contains at least 16 ounces of beer."

A pint has 16 ounces, but some pint-style beer glasses with thicker bottoms hold only 14 or 12 ounces.

Gary Lord, a self-employed plumber in Lansing, said he's been in a few taverns where the pint glasses didn't appear to hold what they advertised. He would support such a law.

"A pint should be a pint, and a U.S. pint to the best of my knowledge has 16 ounces," Lord said as he sipped a beer at a Lansing bar Friday.

Rep. Brandon Dillon, R-Grand Rapids, a cosponsor of the bill, said it's not the most pressing issue lawmakers need to address. But, he said, "a lot of people, I think, would appreciate knowing what they get when they order a pint."

The proposal could be in for a frosty reception by some. Bar owner Mark Sellers of Barfly Ventures, based in Grand Rapids, said the term pint is often used in Michigan as more of a description of the style of beer glass than an exact unit of measure.

His bars use 16-ounce pint glasses, but many use 14-ounce glasses, and some use 20-ounce glasses modeled on the larger British pint, he said. Sellers said many bar owners might be up in arms if they have to to buy all new glassware.

John Holl, editor of All About Beer magazine in Durham, N.C., said the proposed legislation is "a good step forward" for Michigan, which he described as a great beer state.

Pint glasses that look like the regular size but actually hold less beer, known as "cheater pints," are particularly common in places such as airport bars, which have captive customers, but can be found almost anywhere, Holl said.

Businesses that don't want to replace their glassware can stop describing the beer they offer as pints, he said.

The primary sponsor of the bill, sent to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform, is Rep.David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights. He did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Original headline: A pint of beer should measure up under new bill in House

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Source: (c)2013 the Detroit Free Press Distributed by MCT Information Services

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