How to make the most of your pint…

Science and Technology
How much does size and shape matter? Credit: MacKinnon Photography

You walk into a pub. Your choice at the bar is either a pint of Carling or a Kronenbourg (it’s a bit of a rubbish pub I’ll admit!). How long it’s going to take you to drink that pint may depend not on how much you like the lager you choose, but on the shape of the glass you drink it from, according to a new study from The University of Bristol. The ample curves of one glass leads you to believe that the halfway mark of your beer is lower than it actually is, and makes you drink faster to reach that point. The straight-up-and-down of the other makes this judgement by your brain much better – reducing your drinking speed by, on average, 60%.  So next time you want to spend more time in the pub nursing that pint (or a longer time to the next round if you’re buying!), make sure your lager comes in the straightest-sided glass possible!

Straight up from the Study:

The study itself investigated how glass shapes, which lead to a perception bias of the halfway mark, are associated with more rapid drinking. The research consisted of two tests, of which one accounted for the time required to drink the same volume of lager from curved and straight glasses, and the other observed the differences in perception of the halfway point of each glass.

It turns out that, rather than taking bigger sips, the participants just drank at a more rapid rate from the curved glass, in comparison to the straight glass. Researchers suggested that this was because participants thought that the halfway point was lower in a curved glass, and in order to finish the drink in a set time, they reached the actual (but not the perceived) half way point faster, which lead to them finishing their drink faster than those drinking from a straight glass, since they can more accurately estimate the halfway point. However, researchers warn that there is only a moderate association between underestimation of halfway point and drinking rate. The correlation was only observed for larger volumes (the glasses that were given only half-full did not show the same relationship) and only with alcoholic drinks (tested against time taken to drink lemonade, which was not dependent on glass shape).

Researchers warn that there are important limitations to the study: the experiment was not conducted in a social situation and it is unknown whether the presence of company when drinking will affect the drinking rate, as well as the appearance of the drink and the shape of the glass in which the drink is presented.

To see the full study, click here.

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