Bill would require each beer pint have 16 ounces
Some Michigan lawmakers are working to make sure a pint of beer is really a pint of beer.
A bill introduced last week would amend the Liquor Control Act to require each pint of beer have at least 16 ounces. It would make it an offense to "advertise or sell any glass of beer as a pint in this state unless that glass contains at least 16 ounces of beer."
Rep. Brandon Dillon, R-Grand Rapids and a co-sponsor of the bill, said short pints aren't the most pressing issue facing Michigan or its Legislature. But, he said, "a lot of people, I think, would appreciate knowing what they get when they order a pint."
Self-employed plumber Gary Lord of Lansing is among them.
Lord said he has been in a few taverns where the pint glasses didn't appear to hold what they advertised.
"A pint should be a pint, and a U.S. pint to the best of my knowledge has 16 ounces," Lord told the Detroit Free Press at a Lansing bar on Friday.
Some pint-style beer glasses with thicker bottoms hold as little as 12 to 14 ounces.
Bar owner Mark Sellers of Grand Rapids-based Barfly Ventures said the term pint is often used in Michigan as more of a description of the style of beer glass than an exact unit of measure. He said his bars use 16-ounce pint glasses but said many bars use 14-ounce glasses, and some use 20-ounce glasses modeled on the larger British pint.
Many bar owners might be up in arms if they have to buy all new glassware, Sellers said.
John Holl, editor of All About Beer magazine in Durham, N.C., called the Michigan bill as "a good step forward" in what he said is a great beer state.
"Cheater pints," glasses that look like the regular size but actually hold less beer, are particularly common in places such as airport bars that have captive customers but can be found almost anywhere, Holl said.
Bars that don't want to replace their undersize glassware have a simple solution to the problem, he said: Stop calling them pints.