Alcohol Over-pouring Caused by Short Glass Shapes

Dec 23, 2005

Your eyes can play tricks when it comes to pouring drinks. People – even professional bartenders – inadvertently pour 20 to 30 percent more alcohol into short, wide glasses than tall, slender ones of the same volume, according to a new research study published in the British Medical Journal.

"People focus their attention on the height of the liquid they are pouring and insufficiently compensate for its width,” explains Koert van Ittersum, an assistant professor of marketing at Georgia Tech College of Management.

Even educating people about this human perceptual tendency and encouraging them to be careful doesn’t eliminate alcohol over-pouring, find van Ittersum and Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing, applied economics and nutrition science at Cornell University, in their study, “Reducing Alcohol Over-pouring and Underreporting.”

They consider their findings relevant to policymakers and law-enforcement officials who want to increase public safety, groups wanting to promote responsible drinking and decrease alcohol abuse, and people in the hospitality industry who want to cut costs (via serving size) without decreasing customer satisfaction.

"If short tumblers lead people – even bartenders – to pour more alcohol than highball glasses, then there are two easy solutions,” van Ittersum says. “Either use tall glasses or ones with alcohol-level marks etched on them as is done in some European countries.”

The researchers conducted their study using 198 students of legal drinking age at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who poured mock mixed drinks into both tall and short glasses from liquor bottles filled with water or tea instead of alcohol. Study subjects also included eighty-two bartenders in Philadelphia who had an average of 6.3 years of bartending experience.

Even 10 rounds of practice didn’t make close to perfect for students involved in the study. More career experience led bartenders to pour less alcohol into shorter glasses, but they still over-poured. “This tendency is not sufficiently reduced by education, practice, concentration, or experience,” van Ittersum says.

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology

Explore further: When shareholders exacerbate their own banks' crisis

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can kitchen spoons be dangerous spoons?

Jan 04, 2010

\A new study published in the Jan. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine illustrates the dangers of using kitchen spoons to measure liquid medicine.

Darwin's bills discovered

Apr 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- You've seen the documentaries and read the book - now, for the first time, you can find out how Charles Darwin spent his money.

Recommended for you

When shareholders exacerbate their own banks' crisis

12 hours ago

Banks are increasingly issuing 'CoCo' bonds to boost the levels of equity they hold. In a crisis situation, bondholders are forced to convert these bonds into a bank's equity. To date, such bonds have been ...

Trouble with your boss? Own it

12 hours ago

Don't get along with your boss? Your job performance may actually improve if the two of you can come to grips with the poor relationship.

Engineers develop gift guide for parents

12 hours ago

Faculty and staff in Purdue University's College of Engineering have come up with a holiday gift guide that can help engage children in engineering concepts.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.