Pouring BeerShaker Pint

The Shaker Pint Must Die…

The Twitterization of the blogosphere (two terrible words), mixed with a great deal of travel and paying work, have indirectly led to a dearth of postings here (1 in a month). So while I consider my love of lager beer, my interest in the Midwest, and take stock of my recent travels to Wisconsin, Illinois, and DC, I thought I’d simply drop this thought.

In the next issue of BeerAdvocate Magazine I call for the death of the Shaker pint. And while I’ll leave the details of that particular rant to the next issue, I’ve come up with an additional reason that brewers, and more specifically bars and tavern owners, should consider dumping their boring collections of stackable drinking vessel widgets. They cheat the bar owner out of profits. I wrote in BA about how the Shaker cheats consumers out of as much as 2-4 ounces of beer, depending upon the pour. And while this serves to put extra money in the pockets of bar owners, many aren’t trying to use the ubiquitous pint glass to knowingly cheat their customers. But we’ve all seen the problem with the Shaker pint, where even the most careful bartender experiences some beer spillage while pouring pints. Various industry sources suggest that beer spillage results in somewhere between 5 to 20-percent loss per keg, a huge cost loss for the bar owner. Often the loss is due to inexperienced or poorly trained staff who simply leave the tap open until enough beer has spilled out of the pint to leave it filled. Other times the system’s temperature or gas system isn’t properly calibrated. Other times still, bartenders are busy or distracted. Many of these problems could be alleviated or at least reduced with the death of the pint glass, especially where bar owners and beer pourers actually attempt to serve a 15 or (gasp) 16-ounce pint, with the introduction of differently sized glassware. Take for example the Belgians, those merry brewers and bar owners who embrace oversized (and often diverse) glassware that usually allow ample room for a full pour and (gasp again) an actual head on the beer. German beer glasses also often have the half or full liter marker several inches below the rim of the glass, allowing for a full pour and head. And while these glasses may not stack particularly well, you don’t see a lot of beer (and profits) going to waste either.

And while I understand this to be an oversimplification of the issues involved (space, free glassware, dish washing, etc), it’s something that is not often discussed as we sling Shaker after boring Shaker across the bar. That should change.

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4 thoughts on “The Shaker Pint Must Die…

  1. Hear Hear! It just makes me sick on both ends. When the bar person lets the tap go, and lets the beer overflow, what a waste, or when you get the sever under pour at your table. Or then again, i still like at least a little head, so, there you go!
    I’m all for the over-sized glasses, marked with room for a full pour and head! No question, and no waste!

  2. Maybe you touch on this in the magazaine article, but I’ve been noticing bars, instead of overflowing the glass and wasting beer, will pour the beer into the glass carefully. This usually leaves a big head, a good ounce or two off the beer, and an unhappy customer. I’d much rather wait a minute or two for the beer to settle, then have it topped off. Seems like a oversized glass with a line indicating the proper pint line will work for all. No waste, happy customers, more business for the bar.

  3. Hey Tyler, Dave, and Bill…

    The magazine column focuses on the consumer side of the situation, although not entirely from an Honest Pint Project point of view. One of my big beefs, beyond cheating customers, is the aesthetics (or lack thereof) of the shaker pint. A boring, utilitarian widget of a vessel, it brings nothing to the table except its ability to stack. Hardly seems like enough to justify its ubiquity. If I was a bar owner and only wanted one type of glass, I’d select the taller, narrower chimney style, which allows for greater storage space at the base while achieving all of the goals we’ve discussed here…

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