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Deceptive bars, beware: Lawmaker targets 'cheater pints'

A Maine lawmaker wants beer drinkers to get what they pay for — to the very last drop.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Maine lawmaker wants beer drinkers to get what they pay for — to the very last drop.

State Sen. John Patrick is pressing for a bill that would require each pint of beer sold in the state to be 16 ounces. He said some bars and restaurants that advertise draft beers as pints are actually serving 14-ounce glasses, causing drinkers to lose out on those last tasty sips.

"I'd like to have a full glass of beer if I'm going to get it," the Democrat said in an interview.

But not everyone is a fan of the idea.

During a public hearing Wednesday, the Maine Restaurant Association and Maine Brewers' Guild said there's no need for new regulations when the state already has consumer protection laws.

"We believe that crafting a beer-specific bill targeted at something that is already illegal and shifting enforcement responsibilities to our already over-burdened enforcement officials would not be useful," said Sean Sullivan, executive director of the brewers' guild. He said he's never witnessed the abuse of a "short pour."

At Gritty McDuff's in Portland, manager Jake Condon said 16-ounce pints are a matter of truth in advertising. He poured a plastic cup, clearly marked with a "16 oz." stamp, into one of Gritty's house pint glasses to show they are full pints.

"If you're advertising a 16-ounce pour, it should be pretty darn close to a 16-ounce pour," he said. "A mistake is a mistake, but if people are doing it to save a few pennies on those ounces, that's a different story," he said.

Efforts in other states to combat these so-called "cheater pints" have fallen flat.

A similar bill was introduced in Michigan in 2013 but never went into law. The Oregon House passed the "Honest Pint Act" in 2009 that would have allowed businesses to post state stickers certifying that they serve a 16-ounce pint, but the bill later died.


Associated Press reporter Patrick Whittle contributed to this report from Portland.


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