Big glasses make you drink more: poll

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Oversized wine glasses in British pubs cause worry among pols, health officials,” blared a headline in the NY Daily News. I have to admit that when I saw that, I feared that there had been a Riedel war in a London pub, perhaps a jousting match with broken stems.

But it turns out that “big glasses” are being blamed on binge drinking! Roll the tape:

“The glasses are larger and the wines are a lot stronger. It’s a minefield for anyone trying to keep tabs on what they’ve had,” said Srabani Sen, head of Alcohol Concern, a charity.

While binge drinking is no doubt unfortunate and apparently has risen to worrying levels in Britain, are big glasses to blame? Have your say in the latest poll!

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poll now closed
UPDATE: now with intel from London in the comments – Golly and StuckatLGW
Image: John Joh, with permission

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14 Responses to “Big glasses make you drink more: poll”


  1. What’s wrong with a few pints o wine down at the ol Duck and Dog?

    Aye, publican, slake thy thirst!


  2. It is actually probably a legitimate concern. There have been psychological studies published that show people judge the volume of food they are consuming by interpreting visual cues, like the ratio of food to packaging or dish size. Check out this abstract from Cornell: http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/research/overeat/bottoms_up.htm.

    Does that mean I should start with a champagne flute full of my libation of choice and THEN transfer it to those lovely Riedels? It would be rather tragic, but it’s interesting stuff!


  3. I answered no for myself in the poll, but for people like my Mom, it would definitely be a yes. She’s actually asked us NOT to buy her big glasses because she fills them up and ends up getting bombed. We’ve tried to educate her on pouring, but it’s hopeless.


  4. Larger glasses are great because the wine can breath more and it’s easier to swirl. We pour the same amount into a large glass as we would into a smaller glass. Now, my sister in law is another story. She about half emptied a just opened $50 bottle on Thanksgiving. I watched her do it and couldn’t bring myself to ask her to stop.


  5. I think we must not forget that there are 2 factors. The glass, and the person pouring\drinking.

    There is part education, and part actually measuring how much liquid is at this level, or that level…

    I know my glasses have about 1/6th of a bottle at their widest. Even if they can hold 5/6 of the bottle fully loaded.

    Hurray for larger glasses.


  6. I used to drink wine out of a bucket until I realized that this was indeed having an impact on my quantity of consumption. I have since learned my lesson and dare not go any bigger than a pint glass….. or two.


  7. I remember at one restaurant the wine glass was bigger and the bottle of wine was gone way to fast (for 2 people). Didn’t make me buy another bottle tho hah!


  8. The specific problem with bigger glasses in UK pubs is that here it’s a legal requirement to specify the volume of any drink. A pint needs to be a pint, a whiskey When Blue Nun was big a wine glass was 125ml. Now a ‘small glass’ is 175ml, whilst a large glass is 250ml, that’s 1/3 of a bottle. Two large glasses of a 14% wine is a lot of booze, but it’s also ‘just a couple of glasses of wine’, which sounds harmless.

    Some pubs offer a “buy two glasses, get the rest of the bottle free” deal, which may encourage people to share a bottle between two or three people. The drinker then pours the wine and tends to notice the volume far more easily. Strange but true!


  9. I have never seen a wine glass that big! Wow!


  10. Golly’s got it. It’s pretty well documented that the larger wine glasses, and the resulting economics (GBP8 for two glasses, i.e. a bottle of Hardy’s) explain binge drinking. Maybe not among the folks here, but this comments board is wildly unrepresentative of UK wine drinkers. Most commenters would not touch most of what is sold in the UK (where Hardy’s is quite elite in your average pub).

    Of course, it is disingenuous to focus on the glass size. There has been a well-organized, lucrative, evidence-based effort to increase drinking in the UK. It especially targets women (who didn’t drink enough, and had to be persuaded via white wine and alcopops) and involved a lot of changes, of which large glasses don’t matter very much. If you want to increase total sales, as All Bar One demonstrated, you get women in by offering lots of white wine, put in plate glass windows (women apparently won’t go into bars they can’t see into, sensibly enough), and light wood furniture.

    SO: it’s also documented that birch tables increase binge drinking!


  11. […] a una causa totalmente absurda. Es como matar al mensajero que trae malas noticias. Vía | drvino Más información | NYDN Más noticias sobre: Curiosidades, Noticias Tags: consumo de vino, […]


  12. the only concern i have is that i will nearly always, in even the finest of white-linen establishments, burst out laughing at the fact that apparently pee-wee herman chose their stemware.


  13. Where can I buy one of those giant glasses like the one in the photo? I’ve been looking for one like that for my wine cellar.


  14. @ Gregg – The photo was taken at Domaine Chandon in Napa. Maybe ask them? Or check Sharper Image or Brookstone? Seems like something they might have.

    But be careful if you use it to drink out of! ;-)


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