Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Pubs must serve 125 mls glass of wine by law.

Posted in 125mls of wine and 400mls of beer now available in pubs by sheelanagigcomedienne on June 6, 2013

Pubs must offer a 125ml glass of wine. Unfortunately, in my experience, many bar tenders don’t seem to know it and many pubs do not comply with the law. I always order a 125 glass of wine and still can encounter some ignorance about this and have to deal with the hassle. This happened recently in The Frog Clapham Old Town as the barmen said they didn’t serve them , checked with the Manager, on my insistence, who told him they did. The barman then said that he would have to charge me for a 175 measure because that’s what came up in the till!!  I, of course, said that was ridiculous and helpfully suggested that a 125 glass would cost half of the 250 measure. Eventually, the manager came and brusquely gave me my change at the table.  However, despite the hassle and ignorance of the law I will persist in asking for my 125 ml glass.

Another local hostelry near Clapham Common tube station  The Honky Tonk served me a glass of 125 mls of wine but CHARGED  a 175 glass! I shall pursue the legality of this.

I WAS REFUSED A 125  GLASS OF WINE IN A WELL KNOWN PUB IN DEAL. I wrote to the local licensing enforcement officer who did report back to me. Apparently, she spoke to the son of the Designated Premises Supervisor, who was poorly at the time. Of course, the lad lied to Ms Pordage!!

I am in receipt of your complaint, I will be visiting the premises this week and will advise you of the outcome in due course.
Rebecca Pordage
Licensing Enforcement Officer
Dover District Council

Council Offices, White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield, Dover CT16 3PJ

Tel: 01304 872295
Mob: 07875 278037
Fax: 01304 872416


Dear Madam,
I am writing to you with reference to the complaint that you made about the above premises.  I have visited the premises and met the son of the Designated Premises Supervisor, who was poorly at the time. 
I asked him in what sizes they serve wine, and he said 125ml, 175ml and 250ml.  There was a trading standards sign displayed in the bar that said that they serve wine in 175ml and 250ml.  I stated that as they are required to provide wine in 125ml they should display a sign next to that to show that they also offer 125ml. 
I asked him about the complaint details – he said that the only person who was serving on that day was his dad and that his dad and all staff are fully aware that they serve 125ml and have a measure for it behind the bar.  He then showed me the measure that is kept behind the bar to measure the 125ml and many of their customers use it. 
I am sorry that you experienced this problem but I am satisfied that the licensee understands the legal requirement to serve 125ml and therefore will now close the matter.
I hope that you do not experience this problem at any other premises, but if you do and the premises is within this district, please contact me accordingly.
I wrote back to thank her.
Dear Rebecca Pordage,

Thanks for your response. I am glad that you pursued this complaint and that they are now aware of of the law about providing a 125 ml glass of wine. However, I can assure you that they refused to serve me a 125 mls glass and this is why he showed the sign saying they served wine in 175 and 250 mls measures. Why else would he have done that? Obviously, it is his word against mine as he lied to protect his licence but he will, I hope, be a bit  more careful in future and be more civil to his customers!

I reckon that publicans should be compelled to display the fact they DO serve 125 mls glasses of wine with the price shown.

Thank you for dealing with this complaint.

I didn’t bother to pursue that any further.

This is fromThe Facts on Wine Measures | Weights and Measures | Bibendum

From 1st October 2010 a new mandatory code for selling alcohol comes in to force.

The biggest implication for wine is that all on trade sites have to ensure that wine is available in 125ml measures. These 125 ml measures must be advertised “clearly and obviously” to the consumer.

In practice, this means:

  • All Wine Lists must state that 125ml measures are available
  • This must not be hidden in the small print but made very clear – font size should match that used for larger measures

However, it is not necessary to show prices for 125ml measures and a simple one line explanation such as this will suffice: “We also serve wine in 125ml measures. Please ask at the bar/your server for more details.”

Previously trade operators were obliged to offer customers a 125ml glass of wine in addition to any larger sizes (usually 175ml and 250ml). Even if the customer requested a smaller glass, this was not possible. These laws were originally put in place to protect consumers from any disreputable landlords who were short-changing their customers.

However, in an age where we’re constantly talking about responsible drinking, it all seems a little bizarre that smaller glasses of wine were illegal.

In October 2011, the government changed the law to allow smaller measures. The Weights and Measures (Specified Quantities) (Unwrapped Bread and Intoxicating Liquor) Order 2011 law states:

Nothing in this article shall make unlawful the sale—

(a ) at the express request of the buyer, of any mixture of liquids containing, in a quantity not permitted by this article—
(i) wine; or
(ii) wine fortified for distillation; or
(b) of wine in a quantity of less than 75 ml, without the display or provision of a statement in writing

and in plain English…

All this means that operators can sell wine in any measure below 75ml as long as it is clearly displayed and the buyer is aware of the amount of wine they are buying.  Otherwise wines sold by the glass must be sold in specified quantities of 125ml* or 175ml or a multiple of either.

Furthermore, beers can be sold in Australian-style “schooners”, which hold two-thirds of a pint and free tap water to be made available to customers.

Condition 3
Free tap water for every customer
Condition 3
Free tap water for every customer
Condition 3
Free tap water for every customer

The Guardian article by Rebecca Smithers 4th January 2011       Pubs allowed to serve alcohol in smaller glasses | Society | The

Pubs allowed to serve alcohol in smaller glasses

Legal change to permit smaller measures will help tackle binge drinking, health campaigners say

Photograph: Alamy

Pubs and clubs will be able to serve beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks in smaller glasses after the government said it was scrapping complex regulations that dictate the measures sold on licensed premises.

Chris Sorek, the chief executive of the alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware, said: “Smaller measures of alcohol alone won’t solve the UK’s binge drinking problem, but it’s certainly a great move in helping consumers keep within the recommended daily unit guidelines.”Offering beer, cider, wine and fortified wine in smaller measures can help people drink less and avoid alcohol-related harm.”

Drinking two schooners (400ml) of 4% lager would leave a male safely within the unit guidelines, but consuming two pints (568ml) of 4% lager would tip him over the recommended limit.

Condition 3
Free tap water for every customer

DO MANY PEOPLE KNOW THIS? I don’t think so. As a former alcohol counsellor, I am aware of this but I don’t think the government has gone far enough in insisting that the onus should have been on publicans to clearly publicise the changes and to include the prices of these, now available, smaller measures. 

I do hope that some of you will start ordering this more sensible measures of beer and wine.  It could make your hostelry visit more interesting as you engage with the bar staff. I would be glad to hear of your experiences. However, I admit I can’t persuade Dave to ask for the 400 ml measure of beer instead of a pint!!
I wrote to Wandsworth licensing because of the coninuing hassle I still encounter wen ordering a 125mls glass.
This is the helpful response I got..With effect from the 1st October 2014 the law changed and now the availability of half pints, single spirit measures and wine by the 125ml glass has to be displayed in a ‘menu, price list or other printed material which is available to customers on the premises’.  This suggests that something physical must be available, either on a displayed price list (as always used to be the case)  or other printed material that is readily available. In addition if a customer does not specify a quantity of alcohol, then the customer must be made aware of the availability of half pint measures, single measures of 25ml or 35ml for spirits and a 125ml glass of wine.

It is disappointing that the Home Office did not carry out a publicity campaign to coincide with the changes to the mandatory conditions although the trade press has carried articles on the subject. We will look to see whether we can issue a press release regarding the changes in the mandatory conditions.

I hope that this issue gets settled. I have had so many hits on this site about it which indicates that many other people are having similar difficulties.

I hope you all continue to enjoy sensible drinking.    Cheers, skol and slainte.

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