British pubs short-measure two-thirds of drinks - pubgoers lose £114 per year at the bar

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Pubgoers in the UK could be losing more than £114 per week after it was found that beer and wine served in British pubs is being under-poured.

New research from the Trading Standards has found that a whopping two-thirds of alcoholic drinks served in British pubs are under-measured. Almost 90 per cent of beer ordered by researchers was found to be short of a full pint, while 43 per cent of wine was also under-served.

Trading Standards officers visited 77 pubs and bars across the UK and found that they were served 96 short measure out of 137 orders, with 29 per cent of the 137 order being short by five per cent or more. This meant that 70 per cent of orders made in the survey were under-measured in line with the legal size for pints, half pints and 175ml glasses of wine as required by the Weights and Measures Order.

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The average deficit for beer drinkers was found to be around four per cent, while wine was found to have an average deficit of five per cent. Stingy pubs and bars could end up costing customers more.

The average beer drinker could end up losing £1.70 a week, or £88.40 per year. This cost jumps for wine drinkers to £2.20 a week, or £114.40 a year.

This is bad news for pubgoers, who already have to contend with soaring prices at the till. Data from the Office for National Statistics found that the average price of a pint of lager is up 5.6 per cent year-on-year, while a bottle of red wine has increased by eight per cent.

Trading Standards found that the biggest shortfall in a measure was found in Walsall. A 175ml glass of wine was found to be 15 per cent under the legal measure. This was followed by Belfast, where a £7.20 glass of wine was under-served by 13.4 per cent, and the third highest deficit came in Havering, where a 175ml glass of wine costing £5.75 was under-poured by 12 per cent.

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The research comes as a poll by the CTSI found that three times as many drinkers under the age of 45 supported pubs and bars being able to our spirits without a measure compared to older drinkers. While legal the frothy head of a pint in included in the measure, the CTSI survey found that 35 per cent of drinkers felt that it should not be included.

CTSI chief executive John Herriman said: “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, and the potential detriment to the average consumer of around £115 every year suggests there is the need for more comprehensive research to better understand the impact of short measures, not just for alcoholic drinks but across a broader spectrum of consumer goods.

“Weights and measures is a key role for Local Authority Trading Standards, but right now we simply don’t have the resources to allocate, and even the equipment to use, to undertake spot checks that ensure consumers are getting what they pay for. 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.”

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) national chairman Nik Antona said: “Consumers shouldn’t have to feel short changed when they support their favourite pubs, social clubs, and taprooms. The idea that 70 per cent of all beer bought at the bar is being short measured in the UK is extremely concerning.

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“For anything that is short measured, and particularly anything more than five per cent short, you should ask the bar staff for an immediate top-up. You are well within your rights to do this, and the staff should comply and fulfil this request. If you get a negative reaction when you do this, you can get in contact with Trading Standards to report the incident.”

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