We look into the recent story that appeared on BBC TV about the possibility of champagne becoming available again in the UK in pint bottles.
The news item can be viewed here:
It is difficult to see what the fuss is about. Hubert de Billy from Pol Roget, who produce champagne, tells us that a pint (568 mL) is a convenient size between a bottle (750 mL), and a half bottle (375 mL). Indeed, half way between the two is 563 mL. And as Churchill is reported to have said, “When I drink a bottle my wife is not happy. When I drink a half bottle, I am not happy.”
Hubert says the size was popular “before the war” – that is the Second World War. But after the war, its popularity “decreased slowly but surely” as drinking champagne by the glass became more popular. When pressed by the interviewer, Jo Coburn, to say what is the best size, he is clear – the magnum, equivalent to 2 bottles (1.5 L).
Finally, when Jo asks Tim Martin of Weatherspoons if this is a gimmick, he admits it is, but he says it is fun and provides a talking point, and I think we can all drink to that.
It should also be said that the pint has ceased to be a measurement unit in the UK and has become a size number, like those for shoes, hats and dresses. Go into a pub and ask for 3/4 pint of draught beer or cider and you will be unlucky. And if you ask for two pints you will get one pint twice.
We can expect further stories in the coming months about a return to medieval measurements. Prepare for some fun.