Is Yours Straight Or Curved?

Does the shape of your glass affect the speed of your drinking? Yes, according to new research by Bristol University’s school of experimental psychology. They found that drinkers consume beer almost twice as quickly if it is served in a “fashionable curved glass” rather than a straight glass.

Based on a study of 160 social drinkers aged 18-40, they found that drinking from a straight glass, the drinkers took on average 12 minutes to drink 12 fl oz of lager. However, given a curved glass, drinkers on average took only 7 minutes to complete the same task. Interestingly, there was little variation if the beer was replaced by a soft drink.

The explanation seems to be that it is more difficult to judge quantities with a curved glass compared to a straight glass. Participants were asked to study pictures of glasses to determine whether they were more or less than half full. There was a strong correlation between those that had the largest margin of error and the speed at which they had consumed the lager.

What is the point to all this? Well, drinkers like to pace themselves, and the hypothesis is that if they can’t gauge the half way point accurately, they may end up drinking much more quickly than they intended. This is of obvious concern for the aptly titled, fake-charity, Alcohol Concern, who funded the research.

The problem is we don’t all want straight glasses. As every serious beer lover knows, the right glassware enhances the experience of imbibing. Manufacturers are attuned to this and there a plethora of styles to choose from. My advice to anyone worrying about the speed of their drinking is to relax and forget about it. Or buy a watch.


Curmudgeon said…
In the reports about this they were always remarkably coy about exactly what kind of "curved glass" they were talking about.

Is a tulip pint a "curved glass", for example?

And I would have thought most people when they go out have a rough idea of how much they plan to consume (not least because it's so dear nowadays) and tend not to get in such a state that they lose count.
Lee said…
Surely people just drink three, four pints etc anyway? And if you're in a round, the speed is dictated by the the group and not the shape of the glass.
RedNev said…
"Surely people just drink three, four pints etc anyway?" Really?

The problems with this kind of research is that it may lead to a plethora of silly shaped glasses that don't enhance the drink but do make it harder to keep track of how much you're drinking. I'm not as fixated on glassware as some people - the nonic's fine, but I prefer the appearance of straight or tulip pint beer glasses - not because they change the taste, but because they look nicer.

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