I heard on the grapevine (the very best source of obvious or long out of date news) that the Thornbridge, well known brewers of hoppy porter Juvenia, have decided to stop using lined glasses.
This is a bit of a surprise, but to be honest, when it was mentioned to me, I immediately looked at my glass of Thornbridge beer, and saw that its a traditional size with a line not too far below the lip. They don't use the huge Trophy and John Smiths club pint pots that could fit an extra quarter pint of foam in, they just use what I would consider ordinary glasses with a line.
Having said that, I don't even know if that applies to the whole estate, because I rarely have reason to ask for a top up, so rarely pay much attention.
It will be interesting to see the reaction of drinkers to this change. Brim measure glasses will inevitably save Thornbridge, the struggling millionaire backed brewery, money, as less liquid will go into the pints. Yet Thornbridge beers have never been about billowing heads. The vast range of styles means there isn't really a core "trad" bitter with a similar clientele keen to hold onto their frothy beer culture.
Also, they only have 12 premises (who knew Graze Inn and Relish were theirs!) and that means that the number of customers affected is comparatively small. Comparative, say, to the last pub owning business to make a similar decision - Wetherspoons.
Its weird because one of 'Spoons gripes was that they were wasting too much beer and selling over measures all the time. Obviously there's quite an issue surrounding training and staff knowledge. Thornbridge are near a hundred times smaller than JDW and also have, as I understand, high expectations of their staff and their knowledge and service.
If this decision is due to them not trusting staff to serve an "acceptable measure" it surely wouldn't be a huge feat to simply issue guidance and monitor that its being followed?
The clear downsides I can see are that since Thornbridge sell to a large number of free trade accounts, only drinkers in its pubs will be drinking less liquid when they buy a pint. If its an annoyance, then drinkers can still get larger measures of their Thornbridge beer elsewhere. There will also be real impact on the guest beers - and a perceived lack of liquid will only show up customers concerns about the prices.
The main thing is, having owned/rented/leased/run pubs for many years, changing the ethos now not only rankles regulars but makes one question, why it wasn't done at the start?
It will be interesting to see if the wide range of venue types in the Thornbridge estate will disburse the impact, or whether the negative aspects listed above will simply sour the Thornbridge-customer relationship further. It seems a big risk for little perceivable gain
And it would also be great to find out what the reasons are behind the decision.