Could the days of the British "pint" be numbered?

LONDON Tue Jan 4, 2011 12:08pm EST

Lee Spyda, of Newcastle, northeast England, drinks a pint of beer in a pub in London January 4, 2011. British pubgoers could soon ditch their traditional pint in favour of a ''schooner'', a smaller measure of beer used in Australia, under government changes announced on Tuesday. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Lee Spyda, of Newcastle, northeast England, drinks a pint of beer in a pub in London January 4, 2011. British pubgoers could soon ditch their traditional pint in favour of a ''schooner'', a smaller measure of beer used in Australia, under government changes announced on Tuesday.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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LONDON (Reuters) - British pubgoers could soon ditch their traditional pint in favor of a "schooner," a smaller measure of beer used in Australia, under government changes announced on Tuesday.

At the moment, pubs and restaurants are limited to selling alcoholic drinks in certain measures, but the government wants to introduce a new range in response to changing trade practices and consumer tastes.

Instead of choosing between halves or pints, drinkers would also have the option of a schooner, the equivalent of two-thirds of a pint. Wine glasses would also see a change.

"We have listened to consumers and businesses. They have called for fixed quantities to be kept but with greater flexibility. That is what this change will deliver," Science minister David Willetts said in a statement.

"We are freeing businesses so they can innovate and create new products to meet the demands of their customers."

Under the proposed change, a glass of wine could be sold in measures under 75ml, much lower than the current limit of 125ml.

The Daily Mail newspaper said the new pint rule, which also applies to cider and lager, represents one of the most radical changes since the pint was introduced by an Act of Parliament in 1698.

(Writing by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison)

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