Researchers seeking to gain information into the habits of drinking went into the lab and the field to see how the shape of a glass and the markings on that glass affected the rate at which a person drinks, and subsequently how drunk that person got. This study tapped into two of the things I love most in life: beer and science.
The study found that people drinking out of a glass with volume markers (quarter, half, three-quarter full) drank those beers an average of 1.2 minutes slower than clear glasses (both glasses in this study were curved). Lower alcohol consumption was also associate with straight-sided glasses as opposed to curved glass. These findings suggest that if you’re looking for maximum levels of getting drunk you should be drinking out of un-marked curved glasses, as the rate of drinking will be quickest which will lead to higher level of consumption.
Again, unmarked curved glasses = party hard. Marked straight glasses = lamed.
Real-world effects. In an effort to test their ideas in a real-world setting, the researchers had three pubs look at how much beer they sold over two weekends when different kinds of glasses were used.
When the pubs used straight-sided glasses instead of curved ones, they had lower sales — which indicated less alcohol consumption, according to the researchers.
Given the small number of pubs and the short duration of the tests, the researchers considered the findings preliminary–but valuable nonetheless. “We now know it is feasible to conduct this type of research in real world situations and this will have implications for future research,” Troy said in the statement.
Hmmm. But if the scientists were impressed with their findings, not everyone was ready to raise a glass to the research.
“There’s no doubt that context matters when it comes to alcohol and drug use,” Dr. Anna Lembke, director of Stanford University’s Addiction Medicine Program, told The Huffington Post in an email. “But a study showing that social drinkers with marked glasses drank the same amount of alcohol 1.2 minutes slower than drinkers with unmarked glasses is hardly meaningful.”
I call shenanigans! Get your brooms!
‘Hardly meaningful’?!? Pfft! Surely this study could’ve included thousands of subjects tested over several years, but who the hell has the money and/or time to fund a study like that which is just looking at how fast people get drunk? Nobody’s got funds allocated for such a study.
Though people are quick to dismiss these results for not being robust enough, the study itself is rather fascinating. Here are a few excerpts from the University of Bristol’s publishing:
PhD student David Troy and Dr Angela Attwood from Bristol’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group presented the study as part of a symposium on ‘Environmental influences on food and alcohol-related behaviour’.
David Troy said: “Excessive alcohol use is a major public health concern and there is a lot of interest in alcohol control strategies. It is important to determine what environmental factors are contributing to excessive use and how they can be altered to nudge drinkers towards more responsible consumption.”
Some 160 participants (80 female) were randomly split into two groups. The participants were social drinkers with no history of alcohol problems. One group were given beer in a curved glass that had markings showing measurements of a quarter, half and three quarters. The other group’s glasses were the same but had no marked volume measurements. When participants with abnormally slow drinking times were removed from analysis, there was evidence that the group with the marked glasses had slower drinking times (10.3 mins) compared to the non-marked group (9.1 mins).
In another study, David Troy and colleagues tested whether studying the effect of different shaped (straight and curved) pint and half-pint glasses on consumption could be carried out in a ‘real-world’ environment. Three public houses (part of the Dawkins Ales) group took part over two weekends. The results showed that such a study was possible in a real world environment and that the pubs using straight-sided glasses reported lower takings, indicating less consumption. This was consistent with previous laboratory findings that showed participants drinking slower from straight glasses.
Those findings are good enough for me, are they good enough for you? I’m willing to ditch straight sided pint glasses and forego drinking out of anything with markings. However, one thing I cannot let go about the whole ‘markings make you drink slower’ hypothesis is this: if markings make you drink slower then why is Wizard Staff‘s drinking so effective at getting me to drink as much as possible as quickly as possible?
When playing Wizard Staff’s the constant sight of my staff and other staffs has me drinking as much as possible as quickly as I can, and the staff’s beers + tape is by definition ‘markings’, so why would it be different drinking out of a pint glass?! Now THIS is a hypothesis someone needs to test.