From the traditional beer mug to the Weizen glass, the world of beer has always had far more glassware options to enhance the drinking experience than any other beverage in the industry. The Snifter, for example, captures and enhances volatiles in the beer while the Pilsner glass showcases color, clarity, and promotes head retention. And today, it appears that any curved glass will get you drunk faster than a standard pint glass ever could.
In a recent study presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Liverpool, researchers from England’s University of Bristol revealed findings that suggest curved glasses lead to faster rates of intoxication. Why? Well it all comes down to simple psychology combined with an optical illusion. After multiple tests, researchers found that those consuming beer from a traditional pint glass could better distinguish how much they were drinking than those who were served the same amount of beer in a curved bar glass. Bar patrons drinking from a curved glass could not easily identify when the glass was half empty, and therefore perceived that they were drinking less than their counterparts.
Beyond showing the obvious, that glasses containing the same amount of liquid can be viewed as having less or more just by their shapes, the study shed light on a seemingly shared attitude among all drinkers tested: when given the opportunity, they paced themselves. Those drinking from pint glasses drank slower and ordered less than those drinking from curved glasses. Because of this, while well intentioned, those drinking from curved glasses became drunk faster.
For bars looking to gain from this study, I wouldn’t be surprised if all pint glasses were thrown out in favor of the optical illusion gained from any of the many curved glasses on the market.