10 BREWING & BEVERAGE INDUSTRIES BUSINESS Sure, some bars sold different sizes, pony glasses in old school taverns and 12 ounce mugs in usually rural bars and restaurants, but generally speaking a pint was the rule. I mention this because, unlike in the UK and parts of continental Europe, there was back then no standardized service size for beer in Canada or the United States. A convention, most certainly, hence the wide-spread use of the pint, but never a government- mandated measure like the pint and half pint – now, of course, joined by the one- third and two-third. Bars simply went with the glass or glasses that worked best for them, and most found that the pint was that glass. Even after alcohol contents began to rise, the pint prevailed. I have vivid memories – perhaps surprisingly so! – of being served pints of 8% alcohol Niagara Falls Eisbock in what was at the time Toronto’s top beer bar, and south of the border even early barley wines were sometimes found in pints, although usually with the stipulation that patrons were limited to a maximum of two. Eventually, however, those long-held conventions began to shift. At first, the changes were subtle, and in some cases sneaky. In the early 2000s, a new shaker glass was introduced in the United States which held only 14 ounces, but looked like the traditional, 16 ounce glass, and was often served without comment on its size. It was followed by another glass that held even less. Drinkers rebelled, sometimes aided by negative publicity in the media, and the offending bars by and large went in search of new glassware. Meanwhile, in Canada the wide-spread adoption of the metric system allowed for the introduction of variously sized glasses based upon fractions of a litre, and as the Belgian beers and styles long appreciated in Québec began showing up elsewhere in the country, so too did more ornate, differently sized glasses. Acceptance came slowly, but it did come. Over the past several years, however, the trickle has turned into a fairly sizable stream and, particularly in singularly beer-focused places, a relatively wide variety of different glasses has appeared. Indeed, in many big cities these days, the pint is beginning to seem like an endangered species. Take, for example, the cross-Canada beer bar chain, CRAFT Beer Market. With seven locations in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, each outlet of CRAFT averages close to 150 taps and, depending on the brand being sold, draught is served in one of five differently sized glasses, all in metric measurements. A few, mostly European beers are poured in half-litres, but the vast majority, including virtually all the pale ales, IPAs and pilsners, are served in 0.4 litre glasses, 73 millilitres less than a US pint and 168 millilitres shy of an Imperial pint. While it could be argued that smaller serving sizes better accommodate the 5.5% to 7.5% alcohol content of a typical modern IPA, not to mention more than a few pale ales, I suspect that the greater factor at play in CRAFT and at other urban beer specialist bars is sticker shock. With keg prices steadily rising and Canadians among the most highly taxed drinkers in the world, smaller sized glasses mitigate the need to start serving $10 tax inclusive Imperial pints. In the United States, the cost of goods sold, or COGS, is perhaps less of an issue, but for bars specializing in hard-to-get specialties from cult brewers, certainly increased COGS is a factor in the adoption of smaller serving sizes. That plus a growing desire to differentiate from the shaker pint-serving bar down the street and a need to present high alcohol ales and lagers in moderate quantities all lead to the appearance of tulip and snifter glasses in bars that were formerly pint-or-nothing places. In the end, so long as a bar is transparent about what size it is serving for the price and not trying to pass off a lesser quantity as a pint, the shape and capacity of the glass in which a beer is served shouldn’t matter. And in the case of the exorable shaker pint, against which I have long campaigned for both its ugliness and inferiority as a vessel for beer, pretty much anything is an improvement. Stephen Beaumont Letter From North America STEPHEN BEAUMONT When is a Pint Not a Pint? A professional beer writer for 27 years, Stephen Beaumont is an award-winning author or co-author of thirteen books on beer, including his latest, Will Travel for Beer: 101 Remarkable Journeys Every Beer Lover Should Experience. He is also the co-author (with Tim Webb) of the recently released Pocket Beer Book, 3rd Edition, and 2016’s fully- revised and updated second edition of The World Atlas of Beer, as well as author of The Beer & Food Companion. His new website is itravelforbeer.com and he can be followed on both Twitter and Instagram @BeaumontDrinks BEST BEER & TRAVEL WRITER 2017 Once upon a time in North America, when ‘craft breweries’ were still ‘microbreweries’ and IPA was a novelty, buying a draught beer in a bar was a pretty straight-forward proposition. Most bars in the United States sold American-sized pints in a thick-sided ‘shaker’ glass – so called because it was developed from one side of a two-part cocktail shaker – while most Canadian bars served Imperial pints in a nonic or barrel mug, the exceptions to the rule being British Columbia and parts of Alberta which, for some odd reason, tended to favour the US measure. 10_Layout 1 15/05/2018 12:53 Page 1