Being Honest About An Honest Pint

large_honestpintI hadn’t weighed in on this issue despite the news coverage it’s gotten simply because it’s been covered fairly well already. The problem is most of the coverage has been positive.

Back when I found Jeff Alworth  had started an “Honest Pint Project” at beervana I was strongly in favor of it. Jeff had an idea whereby bars would be encouraged to serve an honest 16oz pint thanks to a locally supported project. As I understood it bars, teverns, pubs, and breweries could sign up, show they were honest, and receive a sticker and some promotion by joining. Then all the local beer drinkers would know that these places with a sticker supported the locals by giving them what they paid for. Somewhere along the line though this was turned into a political issue and now I hate it.

Jules Bailey from Portland apparently awoke one day and realized this could help his political career. After all, why else would a lawmaker take a local cause, turn it into a law, and not even add penalties for people violating the law? Lawmaker after lawmaker gave touching comments about protecting the consumer. So what does this law entail that makes it better then Jeff’s community project? Well first it passes a law saying people can voluntarily serve you a full 16oz pint, but they don’t have to. If you want to obey the new law then the (overburdened as the Oregonian put it) OLCC will come out and check your glasses and, if you pass muster, give you a neat sticker to put on your door or window. So how is this bill any different from the initial “Honest Pint Project”? Well it’s different because instead of it being supported by the beer drinkers and bars themselves it will be funded by you the taxpayer, weather you drink or not.

Is this really something Oregon should be discussing in any economic climate, let alone one where everyone is claiming they don’t have enough funding? Is missing 2oz out of your glass really worth passing a law over? For crying out loud people the law is voluntary. If the bar you’re currently going too wants to use cheater pints they will. Will anyone out there honestly stop patronizing a bar without a sticker? While we’re at it why not ask ourselves when the stupidity will end? When bars are certified, but still use cheater pints will we blackball them? Or will we pass a law about that? What about when some smart bar owner makes his own copy of an honest pint sticker and throws it on his window? Will we make a law about that? Will we eventually end up like Europe where they tell you what size of glasses you have to buy?

I hereby ask Jeff Alworth, and everyone who supports their local pubs, to start another community initiative on top of the OLCC’s. Give bar owners an incentive to join with a website or something that will give them publicity and allow them to buy into it. Create a movement that shows Oregonians can get things done without passing a law!

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3 Responses to “Being Honest About An Honest Pint”

  1. Bill says:

    Some corrections: 1. Jules Bailey is a man. 2. I don’t have the bill in front of me, but I think it says that the OLCC will check your glassware in the course of one of their scheduled inspections. So there’s not really an extra cost. OK, maybe for the stickers. 3. Jeff is way ahead of you on the website, what you described is *exactly* what he set up a few months ago. You haven’t looked at the HPP website?

    I don’t understand your objection to a law about this. Do you think someone should be able to sell a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk and only give you 7/8 of it? There are laws and inspections for gas stations, and I suspect the same is true for food packaging. Why are taverns allowed to commit fraud by giving you less than what you paid for?

    BTW, give Jules Bailey credit for another good position: he says the proposed 20X beer tax is regressive, and he won’t support it.

  2. Jared says:

    Jules Bailey is a guy?? Ouch, my bad. I thought it was a girls name when I first heard it and must have skipped the parts that said he when I was reading the articles on it. Sorry Jules. K fixed that part on the post. My issue with the law is I have a distrust of Oregons lawmakers when it comes to this stuff. Right now it’s the stickers and time that taxpayers will be paying for, but I can’t help but feel it will be more in the future. Also if the cost is so low why not add a bit to the beer tax to support it since it is so beer specific? I don’t take issue with what the bill does, nor what how it does it, but I think it should stay a community initiative, and not become a law. Also from what I’ve read on Jeff’s blog I got the feeling that he’s backed off this a bit since the law came up. I agree that they shouldn’t call their glasses a pint if it’s not a pint, but I think it’s up to me to draw the line by not patronizing their business if they’re not pints, not the OLCC. There are local places that I knowingly go to even though they pour cheaters, and I knowingly pay the price. I don’t feel these taverns are commiting fraud because it seems to be fairly common knowledge that these aren’t true pints. Pint has become a generic term for a standard glass of beer. Now if a bar advertized their beer glasses as 16oz and poured me a 14oz then I would take issue because I view 16oz as a specific volume.

    Also I agree, lawmakers that appose that tax do deserve credit, but when I read his commentaries I can’t help but feel it’s about politics, not beer. Then again he is a politician.

  3. Evan Manvel says:

    Read the bill for yourself. There’s a minor technical correction, but the thrust of the bill will stay the same.

    It’s actually DHS, who does restaurant inspections, who would certify businesses as serving honest pints. The businesses request it and pay for the certification and if they pass they get a sign they can display.

    It’s a consumer protection bill.

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