Punters losing out as nearly 90% of beer served in British pubs and bars found to be short-measured

24 May 2024, 08:45 | Updated: 24 May 2024, 09:10

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Nearly 90% of beer served in UK pubs and and bars is short-measured, Trading Standard finds. Picture: Getty

By Flaminia Luck

Drinkers in British pubs could be losing up to £114 a year due to bar staff short-measuring their beer and wine.

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Tests by trading standards experts found beer drinkers get only 96 per cent of a pint each time because glasses are not properly filled.

Inspectors said beers were coming up short even though the head on the drink is legally included in the measurement.

Similarly, wine lovers get only 95 per cent of the size they order on average.

The shortfalls could seem minor but could add up to a total loss of between £88 and £114 for the average drinker.

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Group of friends toasting with glass of wine in the restaurant or bistro
Group of friends toasting with glass of wine in the restaurant or bistro. Picture: Alamy

In total, seven out of ten drinks in UK pubs are poured short, according to research by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

The CTSI said: “There is more work to be done in ensuring that customers get what they pay for.

“This is the first time that we have been able to build a national picture of how widespread short measuring of alcoholic drinks is.

“We simply don’t have the resources to undertake spot checks.

“We are calling on the hospitality sector to ensure customers are getting value for money by correctly measuring the drinks they are serving in the nation’s pubs and bars.”

The CTSI conducted 137 test ­purchases and found 96 drinks were not full.

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This pouring drink is hurting punters
This pouring drink is hurting punters. Picture: Getty

Beer was more likely to be under-poured, with 86 per cent short measured, compared to 43 per cent of glasses of wine.

On average, four per cent was missing from the drinks — but three out of ten were missing five per cent or more.

The CTSI said British pubs and bars sell more than 26 million pints per week — 1.4billion annually — meaning customers could be losing millions of pounds.

A pint of beer costs an average of £4.44 in the UK, while a medium glass of wine is £5.05.

Labour MP Jess Phillips, also vice-president of the CTSI, said: “The cost of living means people can hardly afford a drink and to ­discover you’re being served short measures adds insult to injury. You should get what you pay for.”

'Extremely concerning'

Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, added: “Consumers shouldn’t have to feel short-changed when they support their favourite pubs, clubs and taprooms.

“The idea that 80 per cent of all beer bought at the bar is being short measured in the UK is extremely concerning. You are well within your rights to ask the bar staff for an immediate top-up.”

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