16 Ounces or Bust – Michigan Lawmakers Lobby Against “Cheater Pints”

Would you be angry if you purchased a dozen eggs and came home to find 10? Or, say you bought a gallon of milk at the grocery store, and it was only three-quarters full when you opened it up? I know I wouldn’t be happy.

Assuming we’re all on the same page there, I think it would be safe to say that we’d all be pretty pissed if we asked for a pint of beer at a bar, or we ordered a beer that was advertised as a “pint,” and we were given, say 10, 12, or even 14 ounces. It’s false advertising, right? I think so, and apparently, so do lawmakers in Michigan.

KegWorks tools for drinking pint glass

A Proper Pint

According to the Detroit Free Press, lawmakers in the state introduced a bill last week that would amend the Liquor Control Act to make it an offense to “advertise or sell any glass of beer as a pint in this state unless that glass contains 16 ounces of beer.”

Of course, there’s plenty of opposition to the mere mention of the bill. A common argument sounds like, “Is this what our government is worried about right now?” Rep. Brandon Dillon, a democrat from Grand Rapids and cosponsor of the bill, addressed this argument, admitting it’s not the most pressing issue lawmakers need to address. However, he also said, “A lot of people, I think, would appreciate knowing what they get when they order a beer. When you sell a product, you have to sell what you’re claiming to be offering.”

Another common argument is coming from bar owners, stating that if the law does pass, they’ll be forced to purchase new glassware. One Grand Rapids bar owner said the term “pint” is often used in Michigan to describe a style of beer glass, as opposed to a unit of measure.

I have to disagree with that point. A “pint” is absolutely, positively a unit of measurement. A U.S. pint is 16 ounces, and while some might refer to any glass filled with beer as a “pint,” they shouldn’t be advertising (or selling) any old glass filled with beer that way.

Imperial Pint Glass

An imperial pint is 19.22 ounces –  some say 20, but at least that’s rounding up.

I’ll return briefly to my milk and eggs argument. If you asked for a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk, you’d expect 12 eggs and one gallon of milk. If you asked for a “carton” of each, then that’s another story.

With regards to the new glassware argument, they can come to KegWorks (wink), or stop advertising non-pints as “pints.” Simply call it a “glass” of beer if you’re only offering 12 ounces.

My hat’s off to the lawmakers in Michigan fighting for this bill. What do you guys think?

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