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Let them drink less wine

March 25, 2009 |  5:14 pm


Shock horror alert:

Pubs will soon be forced to offer patrons smaller glasses of wine, according to Britain's Daily Mail. It's part of the government's efforts to curb the cult of binge drinking and also to not encourage women to exceed a safe limit of alcohol.

The Mail article notes that, in the U.K., "a standard glass of wine used to be 125 ml -- around one unit of alcohol. But most pubs now serve wine in a 'small' 175 ml glass or a 'large' 250 ml glass -- as much as a third of a bottle of wine." And, the article further notes that "one in 10 bars use 250 ml as their standard size, which with certain strengths of wine can ... contain 3.5 units of alcohol -- enough to put a woman over the driving limit and exceed safe drinking limits."

I can speak for the mega-serving trend. Just two weeks ago, I was in the U.K. and went out with a sibling for a demure evening on the town involving a glass or two of wine at a pub or two. The glasses were behemoths! Filled to the brim! We surely had but a couple before popping round to visit my (practically teetotaler) brother and sister-in-law and treating them and our young nephew to an hour of witty banter and a knocked-over mug of coffee. If the mini-glass option had been available, I am sure this would not have happened.

The new, mandatory mini-servings would be offered in 125-milliliter glasses.

-- Rosie Mestel

PS: A number of reader comments make it clear that the tongue-in-cheek intention of my remark, "If the mini-glass option had been available, I am sure this would not have happened," may not have registered with all. For the record, it was tongue-in-cheek. But I don't think offering the option of a smaller glass of wine is a bad one, just as it's not a bad idea to offer people smaller servings of food in restaurants instead of the (also behemoth) portions so many places serve up.

Also for the record, re: a comment below, no driving was involved in the above-mentioned evening.

Photo: F. Carter Smith / Bloomberg News