Do Beer Drinkers Need Government Protection?

Lawmakers’ efforts to ensure that bar patrons get what they pay for when they order a pint have so far come up short. Here’s the sobering scoop.

In the first “Lord of the Rings Movie” Merry and Pippin were ecstatic when they found out they could order beer by the pint. Imagine their disappointment when served a glass with some empty space and a good inch of foam at the top.

Isn’t that some kind of false advertising and should the government step in to help end the practice? Three states have considered legislation in the past couple of months to do just that, according to the American Bar Association.

Lawmakers in Maine, Oregon and Michigan each made efforts to pass laws required 16 ounces of beer (not including foam) show up in a pint glass. The measures were attempting to address two complaints: short pouring and deceptively sized glasses. But in each state, the laws failed to make it on the books. Maine came closest, where the bill passed through the Legislature before being vetoed. As reported in the ABA Journal, Maine Gov. Paul LePage explained his move this way:

“I trust the people of Maine will vote with their feet — and their wallets — to frequent the establishments that serve them well and to avoid those that do not,” he wrote in a letter explaining the veto. “Additional government intervention into the free market is not required to address this issue.”

The ABA reported that LePage also suggested that existing truth-in-labeling type regulations which should offer sufficient protection.

Proponents of the “honest-pint” in Oregon have introduced a new bill that certifies bars and restaurants that serve malt-beverages in a full-pint glasses, rather than penalizing those that don’t.

As the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Ken Helm, told the ABA Journal: “In Oregon, we take our craft beer seriously.”

Should there be specific laws about the serving size of beer, or do existing consumer protections do the job? Sound off in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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