If you’ve ever ordered a pint of beer only to find yourself shortchanged, consider moving to Michigan. With any luck, such heinous acts will be outlawed there in no time. A bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature would mandate that every pint of beer sold in Michigan contain 16 ounces of actual beer.
The bill, introduced by Rep. David Knezek, a Democrat from Dearborn Heights, is designed to ensure that every bar patron who orders a pint of beer in the state of Michigan receives no less than 16 ounces of beer. Oftentimes, bar owners will use glassware that will appear to hold a full 16 ounces but in fact only hold 12 to 14 ounces. According to Knezek, this is unacceptable. Enter House Bill 5040.
Proposed as an amendment to the state’s Liquor Control Act, the bill is remarkably simple. “On-premise licensee shall not advertise of sell any glass of beer as a pint in this state unless that glass contains at least 16 ounces of beer,” it reads.
Knezek, who is currently the youngest member of the House Democratic Caucus and the first Iraq War veteran to ever serve in the Michigan Legislature, says he was shocked when he first found out that bars and restaurants oftentimes shorted their customers by an ounce or two. In order to verify that such a practice occurs, he tells the MIRS podcast, Knezek went out and did a little independent research.
“I went out to the restaurants and I brought my own glass with me, a glass that I knew was a pint,” Knezek said. “We would order a pint, and we’d bring it out and we’d measure it up against the glass that I had and sure enough it would come up a couple of ounces short every time.”
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So far, the only significant opposition the bill has encountered is from restaurant and bar owners who feel that the distinction isn’t that important. Grand Rapids bar owner Marl Sellers, for example, tells the Detroit Free Press that a pint is “more of a description of the style of beer” than a measurement of volume. He also says he’s worried that bar owners will have to go out and purchase all-new glassware after the bill is passed.
According to Knezek, however, the glassware is exactly the problem.
“Some of the businesses are using water glasses and using things that aren’t pint glasses and trying to sell it to you as a pint,” Knezek told MIRS. “Some are just getting pretty sneaky, you know? It looks like a pint glass, but maybe you’ve got an inch or two of thick glass at the bottom and so you’re getting [less] product. And again, I just simply think you should be getting what you paid for.”
His solution for bars that don’t want to change their inferior glassware: Stop calling your beers pints.