A pub in Worcester, that for ten years served draught beer by the litre, has now closed due to rising costs.
“Pint taken”, the newsletter of the Worcestershire County Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) recently reported as follows:
“For ten years Worcester has been able to claim to have something quite unique. A pub selling Austrian beer by the litre! However, with rising costs, (the landlord) Andrea Limlei decided not to renew her lease and now, sadly, the Cardinals Hat is shut.
“When Andrea and her husband took over running Worcester’s oldest pub and started selling beer in litres they did not realise what they had let themselves in for. They were thrown into a major battle, which made the national papers, with trading standards who said the pub could not serve its imported lager in litre measures saying that beer could be sold only by the pint or half!”
Trading standards eventually dropped the case, saying that enforcement of this aspect weights and measures legislation does not have a high priority. Readers of Metric Views may have encountered this elsewhere, in particular in relation to the imperial pricing of fruit and veg in street markets. But, in the end, it was not regulation but economics that caused Ms Limlei to say “Time”.
UKMA takes the view that we do not need “specified quantities” at all for draught beer and cider, provided that the quantity and alcoholic strength are stated and the unit price per litre is quoted. The excuse offered by successive UK governments is that without fixed imperial sizes for beer, drinkers would not be able to calculate their alcohol intake – although curiously this argument does not apply to wine and whisky. In reality, the arithmetic is much easier with rounded metric quantities than with imperial units.
The claim that the sale of draught lager by the litre in the Cardinals Hat in Worcester was unique is not one we have heard before. There are plenty of other areas around the country where Trading Standards departments do not see enforcement of certain aspects of weights and measures as having high priority, and perhaps our readers are aware of other pubs and bars in the UK where draught continental beers are sold in continental measures with impunity. Prosit!