An ambitious project from Drinkaware is calling for unit measure lines to be printed on pub glasses to help increase alcohol consumption awareness and give the public an exact measurement on how much they have drunk.
In an age where counting calories and moderating alcohol quantities is a popular method for regulating personal health and fitness, could the idea take off? Many people use smart phones apps to calculate how many units of alcohol they have consumed and the sales of personal or home kit breathalysers have seen a dramatic increase. US Company, Akers Bioscience Inc. recently announced that its revenue has more than doubled from 1.6 million to 3.6 million thanks to the sales of the company’s breathalysers and similar products.
The concept from Drinkaware is to print lines recording alcohol units on common pub and restaurant glasses such as the pint, wine and shot glass. The idea carries a strong possibility that it will raise awareness of how much alcohol a person consumes, however many feel that the glasses would hinder the relaxation and enjoyment of occasions where you are simply popping out for a single drink.
The tactic being deployed is to guide and educate users, as opposed to the tactics currently used on the packaging of cigarettes. After all, do you know how many units a 4% pint of beer or a 13% 250ml glass of wine carries?
For example, a 4 per cent pint of beer contains 2.3 units therefore the glass would have two unit lines printed on it, one below the half full mark and the second under the official pint mark. Due to the varying strengths of beers, wines and spirits however, pub operators have seriously questioned the likelihood of such a movement.
A spokesman from the British Beer and Pubs Association said: “Unit-lined glasses would represent a challenge when the alcohol content of beers and other drinks varies, and generic glasses would offer inaccurate consumer information.”
Drinkaware is also calling for the return of the 125ml wine glass. Whilst it is a legal requirement for pubs and restaurants to serve the small sized glass, many businesses leave the option from their menu, encouraging customers to buy a larger sized glass.
Chief Executive of alcohol education at Drinkaware, Elaine Hindal, said: “One simple change which could make a real difference would be to take the 125ml wine glass out of hiding. Pubs and restaurants are obliged to offer a 125ml serving but most advertise the 175 ml serving as a standard size and 250 ml as a large.”
It is a common belief that you can put a label on how many units affect driving, when in actual fact the UK law states that “the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood”. Many factors can affect your blood to alcohol ratio and this can vary each day dependant on your weight, food consumed, current metabolism, type of drink and timing, age and gender. The safest option is to avoid alcohol completely if you are likely to drive.
The Department of Health guidelines state that men should consume a maximum of four units per day, roughly a pint and a half, with woman aiming for three units, a large glass of 10-13% wine. To calculate how many units are in a drink, it is worked out by multiplying the total volume (in ml) by its AVB (alcohol by volume, measured as a percentage) and dividing the result by 1,000. For example a single shot of strong spirit: 25ml x 40% = 1000/1000 = 1 unit.
How would the new glasses change your weekly alcohol consumption?