Clear pricing must be displayed for all food and drink on sale and in the room in which it is consumed.
The price list must include the following :
· The price of the food and drink
· The quantity in which the drink is sold, e.g. 25ml spirits or pint of beer
· The strength of the alcoholic products, e.g. Draught Bass 4.4% abv
· The price of each measure, if not priced proportionately, e.g. £2.75 per pint / £1.60 half pint. (Sadly, this practice is not illegal.)
· Any service charge must be clearly displayed
Beer, lager and cider can only be sold in 1/3 pint, ½ pint or pint.
Beer may not be sold in metric measures such as litres and yet the licensee must purchase his draught alcohol in metric quantities, e.g. 50 lt. Fosters Lager, courtesy of our masters in Brussels.
Common sense would dictate that pubs should be allowed to sell the likes of Warsteiner German lager beer in traditional litre glasses.
If metered dispense is not used (and it is a rare sight these days), the glasses used for the above draught products must be stamped with a crown mark and may be either brim measure or outsized lined glasses.
Under a Code of Practice between the brewing industry and the Government, 5% head of froth is permitted in a glass. However, if the customer asks for a top up, this wish should be complied with and without question.
If lined glasses are used, this should negate the top up factor, but it is actually illegal to serve over-measure and could theoretically push a customer ‘over the limit’.
In practice it is very difficult exercise to pull a pint of real ale to a line if tight ‘Northern creamers’ are used on the beer nozzles. A common sight in a busy pub is a pint of ale settling ever so slowly to eventually settle well below the line, by which time the barperson is a distant memory.
Common malpractice is for bar staff to pull the real ale as fast as possible, leading to short measure on a grand scale, but great for the bar profits.
Gin, whisky, rum and vodka may only be sold in 25ml and 35ml measures and multiples thereof.
Wine is most commonly served in 175ml and 250ml lined glasses in pubs, which is a bit silly, as neither is a ‘small’ glass.
Legally, wine must be sold either by the bottle, by the glass in 125,175 or 250ml sizes, or by the carafe in 250ml, 500ml, 750ml or litre quantities.
However, a new mandatory code is coming into play in the near future that states that in addition to any other measures sold, wine MUST be offered in 125ml measure, this being equivalent to about 1 unit of alcohol. It is also a sane measure for using in ‘wine and soda’ which is a very popular slimmers’ drink !
Under the Trade Descriptions Act, all written descriptions of products must be accurate.
It is illegal for instance to use a branded spirit optic with the wrong name on it or to describe frozen chips as ‘home-made’.
Under the Business Names Act, if the licensee trades under a name other than their own, it must be displayed in a prominent position on the premises, such as on the price lists and menus.
The above legislation is enforced by local Councils.
First offences would perhaps only merit a verbal warning.
Hugh Price, FBII.