A Small Beer Is Really A Large Beer At Qwest Field, And Vice Versa

Hey all you silly people out there at Seattle Seahawks games, stop wasting money on those large beers at Qwest Field! For $1.25 less, you can get a small beer, which seems to contain just as much liquid-y ale goodness as the large. D’oh!

A few observant fans made a little video showing how the liquid in a large cup fits perfectly into the small cup. So really, those large brews are just an optical illusion, disguised in a taller vessel. Shame on you, Qwest Field. Shame. On. You.

Thanks to Consumerist reader Brandon S. for the heads up.

The Great Qwest Field Beer Scandal [Deadspin]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ALP5050 says:

    Thanks consumerist for staying on top of the real issues…

    • SissyOPinion says:

      How is this not a real issue for consumers? As a possible future consumer of beer at Qwest Field, I find this information extremely helpful and relevant.

    • djudd says:

      well it’s not like it’s a made up issue. the article didn’t say there was a shortage of fairy dust in rainbowland due to unicorn bankers mismanaging hedge funds.

    • Jacquilynne says:

      Weights and measures issues are basically the progenitor of all consumer issues. The Magna Carta addressed Weights and Measures, even, that’s how much of a real issue it is.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      You’re just full of irrelevant one-sentence posts this month. Maybe next month you can graduate to saying things people care about.

      • ALP5050 says:

        Thanks for looking at my posting history. I feel less Jewish now.

        • DorsalRootGanglion says:

          I’ve heard that anti-Semetic slurs are especially welcome here at the Consumerist. Why not call someone a n***** and be done with it? Take the true extreme and edgy position!

        • DarthCoven says:

          “I feel less Jewish now”

          What the hell is that even supposed to mean?

    • drizzt380 says:

      You’re probably one of those people that thinks that no small problems are worth your time until all the big problems are taken care of.

      Like a politician or something.

    • tbax929 says:

      Your post could only be worth less if you’d posted: “First”.

    • GTB says:

      I’m not sure you understand where you are or what you’re saying.

    • Nyall says:

      This is a consumer issue. But I’ll agree that there is plenty of stupid stuff here. Looking at the frontpage:

      Reese’s being the candy of CES.
      Robotic Teddy bears not harming grandmas
      Iphone on the Verizon network.
      Children in bubbles might or might not get wet.

    • Damocles57 says:

      Instead of snide comments, you should do Consumerist and the rest of us a favor and post a list of the “real issues” for others to focus on. I think it a little rude of you to have been withholding such critical information and allowing the rest of us suffer through needless articles and lame comments.

      Of course, your comment isn’t lame. It is real. Really….

  2. Marlin says:

    Looks like there is a extra ounce-ish in the “large”. Notice there is a little more room at the top but the small has no extra room.

    So not illegal, since there is a little differance, but not worth another $1.25

    • macaulian says:

      That little difference is actually a big difference because of how beer cup geometry works, see thebeergauge.com

    • dangermike says:

      A cup filled completely to its brim will spill. The amount liquid dispensed to the large cup will indeed fit in the small cup but you can see the curvature of the liquid above he top of the cup. It is clearly too much to be served in the smaller cup, especially in a venue where the cup will be carried a long distance by someone other than an appropriately experienced member of wait staff.

      • ludwigk says:

        Both cups need headroom not to spill. Neither can be filled and served as high as demonstrated, but the fact remains that the volume of both cups is nearly identical, and the pricing difference gives you a cup with differing geometry, not a greater volume. This is abusing the human brain’s poor ability to compare volumes of containers that are squat vs. tall.

        Given naturally occurring variations in vending, one could easily receive a small beer with the same volume of beer as a large.

        @ Macaulian – Even considering conical geometry, the volumetric difference between the properly poured small and large is going to be a single-digit variance, entirely swallowed by the standard deviation seen in vending practices at stadiums.

        @ Marlin – The standard of illegality for vending practices comes down to more than merely demonstrating some technical variance. Depending on how the drinks are advertised, and the jurisdiction, it may trigger local ordinances, bureau of weights and measures, ATF, FTC, FDA, local liquor ordinances, and/or consumer rights laws of that area.

      • maztec says:

        It would be much more interesting to have both filled and compare the weight of the liquid inside.

  3. Iroc says:

    You just can’t trust anyone anymore.
    Energy on

  4. Vanilla5 says:

    “Hoooold it! Call the COPS!” That was my favorite part of that video. lol

    • Hoss says:

      Offisher – glad you pulled me ova *hick* take a look at tis vid, vid E O

    • mga says:

      Yah, should have been “call the department of weights and measurements” but you can’t expect everything from a beer drinking football fan.

  5. Bossco says:

    Now they’ll just eliminate the small beer and charge $1.25 more for one size.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      They’ve actually done the opposite. Everyone gets 20 oz for the 16 oz price until they get this figured out.

  6. Hoss says:

    Anyone know the name of the concessions company? If they’re doing it in Seattle, they’re doing it elsewhere as well

  7. JeremieNX says:

    He sounds a tad impaired in the video……

  8. Tootthekazoo says:

    First and Goal, the company that manages Qwest Field, investigated this yesterday and released this statement:

    “We received a copy of the YouTube video showing the quantity of liquid served in the 16 oz. beer cup is the same quantity that fits into the 20 oz. beer cup. This is the first time we have been alerted to this fact. Upon our internal investigation this afternoon, we discovered the cups that are marked 16 oz. hold 20 oz. of liquid. Fans who purchased a 16 oz. beer actually received 20 oz. of beer for the 16 oz. price. Fans that purchased the 20 oz. beer received the amount they purchased. We are working with Levy Restaurants to follow up with the cup vendor about the measurement and to determine how long this has been occurring at Qwest Field. We are determined to find a solution as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we will serve domestic beer in the 20 oz. cup at tomorrow’s playoff game to ensure all fans receive the amount they purchase, and we will charge the 16 oz. price.”

    • rahntwo says:

      We at Quest take too much beer very seriously!

    • SabreDC says:

      Ahh, so we should be thankful for this! I see. If you purchase a small, they are doing you a favor and giving you more than you paid for. Let’s all be grateful.

    • Pax says:

      Hey, that’s actually a reasonable and rational response from the company … what planet are they from?!?


      Not that I drink beer, but seriously enough, they could have just eliminated the Small, and started charging everyone the Large price. They’ve chosen not to, while investigating the cup labelling error.

      If that investigation takes long enough, they may decide they make enough profit on the 20oz even at 16oz prices, and not raise the price. Maybe they’ll go to 20oz and … 32oz? Make a new Giant size?


      Either way, they’re handling the issue the right way, IMO.

      • frank64 says:

        They are turning in to a win. They might sell more beer because of the story and the perceived dealt they are getting.

    • mcs328 says:

      So now they are alerted that they were giving people 25% more for free. They’ll correct this mistake by giving you want you paid for. This is a win for the company for sure but for the consumer it could be a lost if they decide to not only correct the dispensed amount but charge you in some other way to make up for the loss. You weren’t overpaying but in fact underpaying.

      • Tim says:

        No, they’ll give everyone 25% for free, until they figure out a way to charge people the right price for the right beer.

    • Ichabod says:

      Having worked in many bars a 16oz plastic cup hold 15oz and a 20 holds 19oz it’s all a flim flam.

  9. Hoss says:

    Ok, it’s Levy Restaurants Inc. They operate dozens of stadium concessions. I have no doubt they play the same trick at other venues. There’s a dropdown list of stadiums here: http://www.levyrestaurants.com

    • RandomHookup says:

      If the comment from the restaurant above is true, then it just changed from a ripoff to a hack.

    • Coles_Law says:

      See above. Looks like the 16 oz. cup held closer to 20 due to a vendor screwup.

    • Enduro says:

      I read their statement and I have a hard time believing that a company of this size never tested the volume of their order of millions of plastic cups.

      • Hoss says:

        This was clearly a marketing strategy, not a mistake, not a vendor issue. Levy is too large to make financial mistakes

        • Hoss says:

          What I’m saying is that if they figure the price of beer should be x and the weights and measures commission will hold them to it, why not sell the same volume for x + $1.25. Many sports fanatics will ask for a large no be concerned about the cost Do this at large volume you’ve generated big profits

          • Cosmo_Kramer says:

            You’re not making any sense. You’re just looking for an angle to make this out to be something nefarious.

            • thedarkerside.to says:

              Well, the other explanation is that the cup manufacturer screwed that one up on millions of cups.

              I’d say the odds are 50/50.

        • kmw2 says:

          Yes, because they’re larger than Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, Lucent, AOL-Time Warner… oh, wait? They’re not? Large companies: not immune from making serious financial mistakes.

          • Hoss says:

            Those companies intentionally cooked the books to deceive the public about profits.

            • kmw2 says:

              AOL-Time Warner and Lucent didn’t, they were just stupid, and quite a lot of Enron, Worldcom and Tyco was plain old financial mismanagement.

  10. cromartie says:

    Levy Restaurants manages that site, I believe.

  11. Jean Naimard says:

    In Europe, beer mugs have a line on them, and the capacity is written right besides it.

    But it’s true that Europe is pinko-commie and anti-business by forcing honest hard-working companies to inform consumers…

  12. extrudedcow says:

    Assuming they are actually fitting 20oz of beer into a “16oz” cup, the only trick being played is by the cup manufacturer, and it’s the vendor that’s getting screwed. In any case, I doubt there was any malicious intent on the vendor’s part, as it’s in their interest to have accurate measurements (or at least errors in their favor).

    • technos says:

      In this, the era of the overweight American consumer, where ’32 inch’ pants are actually 34, this makes a lot of sense. The people who order a ‘small’ Coke because ‘they’re on a diet’ are the same people who will chew you out, demanding a refund for their entire meal, because ‘you out that you put too much ice in’ and they’re still thirsty.

      It’s a few cents worth of sugar water. One less annoyed, vocal customer in a week and you’ve actually made money by giving away free product,I bet.

  13. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    Shame on YOU Consumerist for your incomplete reporting. They were selling two sizes of beer – 16 oz and 20 oz. It turned out that both cups were 20 oz. Consumers weren’t being ripped off here – those who bought 16 oz beers got more than they paid for. Those who bought 20 oz beers got what they paid for.

    All beers are being sold at the 16 oz price for today’s playoff game.


    • coren says:

      Yes and no. The people got what they paid for, but they were being ripped off if they bought the large because they thought it would be more than the small.

    • Corinthos says:

      Sounds like back in high school when I worked for subway. We were out of small and medium drink cups so management gave everyone a large at the price they ordered. We’d just informed them we were out of small but they would get a large at the small price. Now people that ordered the larges got charged for a large still.

      • dangermike says:

        I don’t see any problem with that at all, especially considering that every subway location I’ve ever visited has had their drink well situation in a self serve location, essentially allowing free refills while you’re there. Ordering a large is a silly proposition in such circumstances, unless maybe you want a lot of drink to go, and in that case, you’d be paying for the convenience.

    • Alvis says:

      4oz of beer for $1.25 still sounds like a scam to me.

    • drizzt380 says:

      Is the stadium not a consumer of the products made by the cup manufacturer?

      Does the stadium deserve to be ripped off?

      Hurrah for the stadiums!!!

  14. greyfots says:

    you could buy one large and then ask for a small in the same large cup right?
    my uncle and i used to do that at baseball games since we only drink and let the cups pile up ha!
    take that you extra 1.25!!!

  15. kingofmars says:

    I like how the guys sound like they’ve had a few of the “large” and “small” beers before recording the video.

  16. bigd738778 says:

    Thanks Consumerist for helping the drunks at the game get their justice. The video looks like some homeless dud playing with empties in the restroom. Great reporting.

  17. sparc says:

    LMAO…. so basically this video screwed everyone who was buying the smaller cups and were getting an extra four ounces

  18. sparc says:

    Shame on you, Qwest Field. Shame. On. You. (for giving people too much beer in the smaller cups)

  19. Ichabod says:

    That’s a law suit.

  20. maynurd says:

    I have to chuckle at people who go to a restauraunt that has free drink refills, and pay extra for the large drink. Just buy the small size and get the refills, posket the difference.

    • Snoofin says:

      Maybe they arent a cheapskate and dont mind paying a measly 20 or 30 extra cents for the large so they dont have to get up 3 times during their meal and stand in line for the person at the counter to refill their dinky small soda.

    • macoan says:

      If it’s fast food – then I always fill up and take the cup with me when I leave… so having a large cup is a plus.

      At some sit-down places, I will at times ask for my drink to be put in a to-go cup – and again, have it refilled before I leave. (fancy sit-down places I won’t – but the less-fancy sit-down places that have to-go glasses available.)

    • ChunkyBarf says:

      I get your logic, but there is a convenience issue at play in terms of how often I refill. Additionally (as pointed out by others) I also like to take my drink to go and the extra fluid ounces go a little extra way to satiate me away from the restaurant. Plus, sometimes, it is nice to give extra patronage to places of business (and their waitstaff) that I happen to enjoy.

  21. zombie70433 says:

    Let the fans get ripped off. They deserve it for whipping the Saint’s. lol.

  22. Yeah Right says:

    Okay, hold on there! As soon as QWEST was made aware of the issue they investigated and found that there was a supplier issue. The resolution while they wait for new cups is to charge the 16oz price for 20oz of beer for all beers. Go SEAHAWKS!!!

  23. The Broodwich says:

    In response to maynurd, paying an extra 25 cents for a larger cup at a place with free refills is fine. First of all you can take a few more ounces home with you. Second of all it is fine if you place some value on having to physically get up and refill the cup less.

  24. mga says:

    Can someone use that in defense of a DUI? “Judge, I had just two beers which I normally handle, but Qwest over served me on the two beers and gave me 25% more than I orderd.”

  25. JManBrody says:

    I ordered a “Pint” of beer at Pizza Hut and they served it in a 10oz glass, They insisted that it was their pint size.

    • evilpete says:

      A large or small can be any size..

      but a “Pint” of been MUST BE a pint, call you local department of standards, they will come down *HARD* on the restaurant. Sadly the results are normally restaurant paying some $$ and removing the word pint from the menu ( instead of actually serving pints ).

      • OnePumpChump says:

        Yeah, but at least you don’t get disappointed when you expect a pint and get a cup and some change.

    • tidomonkey says:

      Friend of mine had this situation at a local Applebees. He asked the size of a certain brew and the server confirmed it was a pint. She then brings him a 10oz beer much to his chagrin. Long story short: server doesn’t understand how many ounces are in a pint….. manager gives him second beer for 4oz winfall.

  26. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    I’m guessing most of the Saints were taking advantage of the “large beer, small price” promotion at Seahawks Stadium (sorry, not into this corporate name thing.) That would be the only explanation as to how the F&&K they could have lost to said Seahawks yesterday.

  27. Mr. Charlie says:

    So let me get this straight… if it hadn’t been for one drunken hillbillies youtube post I could have been getting 20 ozs. for the 16 oz. price?? Seems to me that the “consumerist” should have railing against one drunken retard screwing it up for everyone.

  28. graytotoro says:

    Sounds like the cameraman and his partner had a few brewskis themselves.

  29. OnePumpChump says:

    Are we sure that it’s beer we’re talking about and not small beer?


  30. PupJet says:

    I saw the news headlines on this…it was amusing.

    Regardless though, if you REALLY think about it (I know, that’s hard for most), are concessions REALLY going to fill that cup to the top like it shows? I seriously doubt it…especially at Qwest field or any sporting event.

  31. HoJu says:

    On the smaller cup there is a blue line that looks to be about 4 ounces down from the rim. Is it possible that they fill the big cup to the top and the small cup to the line?????

  32. sp00nix says:

    I’ll believe it when i see it not shot on an iPhone

  33. BeyondtheTech says:

    Read the response from the Qwest corporate spin machine: http://deadspin.com/5728424/qwest-field-says-its-beers-were-actually-a-great-deal-are-they-drunk

    “This is the first time we have been alerted to this fact. Upon our internal investigation this afternoon, we discovered the cups that are marked 16 oz. hold 20 oz. of liquid. Fans who purchased a 16 oz. beer actually received 20 oz. of beer for the 16 oz. price. Fans that purchased the 20 oz. beer received the amount they purchased.”

  34. ChunkyBarf says:

    It is worth noting that this is happening in Seattle, the birthplace of Starbucks. Starbucks, the place that calls their ‘medium’ a ‘grande’. In any language other than market-ese that would mean ‘large’. Not that I am bitter — like their coffee — or anything.