Honest Pint Project Update

Where We Started
If I had known seven months ago that a posting on this rather, ahem, modestly-trafficked website would result in a story in the Wall Street Journal (among others), I may have approached it with a little more intention. My main goal was to raise awareness of the issue, not be a firebrand for a major policy change. And certainly not Portland's pint-glass cop. I guess you could say that the goal has been accomplished--awareness raised. Unfortunately, I should have considered these issues more carefully and had a plan:
  • Are 16-ounce glasses adequate? Most Portland pubs now using shaker pints use the 16-ounce version, but of course, that means a pour of 13 or 14 ounces.
  • Should shaker glasses just be verboten, since it's nearly impossible to distinguish between 14 and 16-ounce versions?
  • How manageable would it be to police this? In starting the HPP, was I signing up as the cop?
  • What was the endgame--encouragement of pubs to switch to honest pints, or a statutory change to enforse it?
Where We Are Now
Thanks to seven months of experience, I'm now prepared to answer some of those questions. Given the total lack of clarity surrounding shaker pints, I declare them a wholesale blight on the concept of an honest pint. I will henceforth only cite those pubs that serve glasses of 18 ounces or more. Since this is a spirit-of-the-thing endeavor, I think the spirit of a "pint" demands that you get a pint of liquid. I will cite as Purveyors of an Honest Pint those places that serve a full liquid pour of 16 or more ounces, so I'm drawing the line for glassware at eighteen.

I am not a cop. I love Oregon beer and have an unreasonable optimism about retailers' sense of fair play, and so rather than try to catch out the bad guys, I'm going to celebrate the good guys. For now, that's what I, as an unpaid blogger, can manage.

Where We're Headed
I will support a statutory change if it comes to that--and maybe it should. However, I think the most effective change would be to certify certain glasses as honest and leave aside an enforcement mechanism. Instead, pubs could advertise their state-certified 18- or 20-ounce glasses. That would allow consumers to make their own judgment about places that didn't use certified glassware--effectively making it a market-based enforcement. (Imagine how many people would go to gas stations where a "gallon" was not a certified unit of measure.) It would save a lot of money and reward good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior.