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Over Two-Thirds of Beer and Wine in UK Pubs and Bars Short Measured

  • 70% of beer and wine served in pubs and bars is short measured
  • Study by Trading Standards finds significant discrepancies in drink measures
  • Consumers could be losing up to £114.40 a year due to short measures

A recent survey by Trading Standards has revealed a concerning trend: over two-thirds of beer and wine served in UK pubs and bars are short measured. Officers visited 77 establishments and found that 96 out of 137 orders were under the prescribed quantity required by The Weights and Measures Order for pints, half pints, and 175ml glasses of wine.

Katie Elliott at the Daily Express reported that out of the 96 short measures, 41 were under by 5% or more, equating to 29% of the drinks tested. The survey found that 86% of beer and 43% of wine were short measured. On average, the deficit for beer was 4%, while for wine, it was 5%.

This shortfall translates to a loss of £1.70 per week, or £88.40 annually, for the average beer drinker. For wine drinkers, this loss increases to £2.20 per week or £114.40 per year. The most significant short measure found was 15% under, recorded on a 175ml glass of wine in Walsall, costing £3.20. Other notable discrepancies included a 13.4% short measure in Belfast and a 12% short measure in Havering.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) conducted a poll revealing that younger consumers are more tolerant of slight inaccuracies in spirit measures compared to older demographics. This comes amidst rising costs for alcoholic drinks, with the price of red wine increasing by 8% and a pint of lager by 5.6% over the past year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Despite the legal inclusion of the frothy head in beer measurements, 35% of Brits surveyed believe it shouldn't be part of the pint measurement, while 23% disagree. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) insists that customers are entitled to a full liquid pint without the head.

John Herriman, CTSI's chief executive, emphasized the need for better resources and comprehensive research to address the issue: "While this is a snapshot, it is the first time that we have been able to build a national picture of how widespread short measuring of alcoholic drinks are. The potential detriment to the average consumer of around £115 every year suggests the need for more comprehensive research to better understand the impact."

Herriman also called on the hospitality sector to ensure fair measurements: "We are calling on the hospitality sector to ensure that consumers get value for money by making sure they are correctly measuring the drinks they are serving to customers in the nation's pubs and bars and for further research in this area."

Camra's national chairman, Nik Antona, urged consumers to demand fair measures: "Consumers shouldn't have to feel short changed when they support their favorite pubs. If you are served a drink that is short measured, you should ask the bar staff for an immediate top-up. If refused, you can report the incident to Trading Standards."

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, defended pubs, stating: "Pubs across the country take great pride in serving the amazing range of beer brewed in this country and in no way want to be accused of short-serving the millions of customers who enjoy visiting our nation's pubs each week."

Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, commented, "These findings are quite alarming for regular pub-goers. It's important for consumers to be aware of their rights and to ensure they're getting what they pay for."

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