12 November 2012

The Cheater shaker pint

Over the last couple of weeks many outlets have been screaming for the death of the shaker pint.  If you follow much in the beer world you couldn't have missed all tweets, blog posts, and Facebook posts about people's thoughts on getting rid of the shaker pint completely.  The epicenter of this most recent flare up of this argument started here.   I fully understand why places use the shaker pint.  It is cheap, easy to clean, and not as many people steal them from bars.

I don't really like the idea of the death of the shaker pint.  Better beer prices are rising rapidly, and Indianapolis tends to be even more expensive than sister cities.  The death of the shaker pint, I personally feel, will lead to another rise in the price of your drink at your local.  Welcome to $7 dollar 10 ounce pours of pale ale served in a fancy glass. Harder to clean, more expensive to order, and more theft to deal with at the bar.  Are you ready to bear those costs?

I think the bigger issue though is the proliferation of the cheater shaker pint.  They look just like a regular pint glass, but they have a larger glass area at the bottom. It looks exactly the same, but holds two ounces less. There are more than a handful of places around Indianapolis that are using the cheater pints.  The ones that make me the most angry are the ones that are calling it a pint on your receipt, and charging a full pint price for the pleasure of only getting a 12.5 ounce pour. I find that unacceptable, and I think it is misleading to the consumer.  If a restaurant did the same with meat sizes that would be a much bigger story.

This happened to me last year at a local establishment, and after paying $6.50 (not priced on the menu) for a cheater pint of Two Hearted, I had had enough. I had a very constructive conversation with the manager of this establishment, and they only removed the word "pint" from the receipt.  I've been back a few times for the food, but I've yet to order a beer there since this happened.

I guess it all boils down to having respect for the consumer.  Honestly, a place is entitled to serve beer in anything they want.  It is dishonest though to call it a pint, charge a premium pint price, and only give the consumer 12 ounces. I'm saying 12 ounces because of the head space.  If a place wants to serve beer in 12 oz glasses, then go right ahead and do it, but have enough respect for the consumer to let them know the ounce size being served.

Photos: Andrew Scrivani for The Wall Street Journal





  1. Fox and Hound did this a couple years back. They were pretty up-front with their patrons when they made the switch and as an avid $2 'pints' Tuesday patron, I didn't mind the switch to $2 draft tuesdays. Honesty is the key to keep your patrons

  2. My thoughts? Name names. Public shaming. And +1 on what Jordan said - as long as they're upfront... and the value proposition works out. There's a price point where I'm find with 14oz.

  3. I have always liked the idea of the honest pint project (http://honestpintproject.org/). Like Jordan mentioned, it is not so much that you have to have 16 oz, but that you know what you are paying for.

    Unfortunately, as Matt said, most breweries/bars that serve honest glassware are rewarded by much greater increases in theft.