Michigan Law Would Ban Selling Of ‘Pints’ Of Beer Containing Fewer Than 16 Ounces

In some bars and restaurants, the phrase “pint of beer” is not taken literally enough, with some places drastically under-filling the glass or using a smaller glass in the belief that a tall-ish glass is a pint. But a proposed new law in Michigan would make it against the law to advertise a “pint” that contains anything fewer than 16 ounces of liquid.

The bill doesn’t require a ton of legalese. It merely adds the following section to the Michigan Liquor Control Code of 1998:
AN ON-PREMISES LICENSEE SHALL NOT ADVERTISE OR SELL ANY GLASS OF BEER AS A PINT IN THIS STATE UNLESS THAT GLASS CONTAINS AT LEAST 16 OUNCES OF BEER.

“[W]hen people buy a pint and they’re served less than a pint, it strikes me as sort of low-level fraud,” said state Rep. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor, who tried to introduce similar legislation in 2011.

Irwin and the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. David Knezek of Dearborn Heights, point out that there are already laws on the books in Michigan to protect people from getting short-changed at the deli or gas station. The Liquor Control Code also has Sec. 1023, which forbids the prohibition of “pinball machines on the premises for the purpose of amusement.” What else would pinball machines be used for?

They said that some bar staff don’t even know they’re selling “pints” in glasses that are as small as 12 ounces. Then there are the “cheater pints,” where the bar or restaurant uses glasses with thicker bottoms or heavier glass to give the visual look and heft of a 16-ounce glass.

The executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association tells MLive.com that “pint” is a generic term for a glass of beer and that “We have other pressing issues right now that need to be addressed over the amount of alcohol in the pint.”

Rep. Irwin says this isn’t about punishing bars or making things harder for them. It’s just about truth in advertising. If the law passes, they don’t necessarily need to go out and buy all new glassware; just stop advertising that customers are getting a “pint” when they aren’t. .

“I don’t anticipate the state actually investing dollars and sending out the pint police,” admits Irwin.

Michigan proposal would mandate beer pints include at least 16 ounces [MLive.com]