Britain seeks ban on glass pint-glasses to prevent bar-brawl injuries

The British Home Office is looking for proposals to make it harder to attack people with pint-glasses, including a mandate that all pint sleeves be made from plastic, or coated with shatter-resistant plastic. Because, you know, most bar-brawlers are fundamentally upset at the pint, not the people around them, and if they can't smash a pint sleeve, they will contain their anger and not use a chair, bottle, or imposing scarred forehead.
Not surprisingly, the British Beer and Pub Association is not in favor of the plan and does not want the new glasses to be mandatory. "For the drinker," said a BBPA representative, "the pint glass feels better, it has a nice weight and the drink coats the glass nicely. . . . Is it necessary to replace the much-loved pint glass for safety reasons in the vast majority of pubs where there is no problem?" Yes, said the Home Office Minister. "Innovative design has played an important role in driving down overall crime," he claimed, though it wasn't clear what innovative design he was referring to, maybe the knives. "This project will see those same skills applied to the dangerous and costly issue of alcohol-related crime and I am confident that it will lead to similar successes."
British Government Considers Mandating Plastic Pint Glasses


  1. Pint glasses don’t inflict appalling facial injuries, people inflict appalling facial injuries.

    I ran pubs in London for quite a long time, some of them a bit rough. Never actually saw a glass attack even in the aftermath but I did once see a guy after a heavy glass ashtray with a sort of sunburst jaggedy edged design had been driven into his face. That wasn’t too pretty, and was the reason we then switched to light plastic ashtrays. The thing of it is, the sort mean, deep-down nasty fucker who’ll do something like that to another person will always find a way to inflict on others, but you do what you can I guess.

  2. Having just spent a week in the UK it seemed as if crime was the hot topic in the country. However, apart from a couple of high speed passes, sirens blaring, I did not see one police officer on the streets or even parked in their cars.

    Hasn’t it been proved time & again that officers on the street (or in the pubs I guess) are the best crime fighting tools we have?

  3. I hate drinking beer out of plastic (or anything but glass). Seriously, how do you guys put up with this sort of micro-managing of *everything* by the government over there? As a liberal in the States the example you guys set sometimes makes it hard to get any sort of reasonable government regulations through over here.

  4. I once knew a girl who had been in a bar fight where someone had tried to cut her face in half vertically with a broken beer bottle.

    Her mental scars caused her many more problems than her physical ones.

  5. Why not impose plastic glasses as a licensing condition on the places that have a history of trouble, rather than punishing every pub in this way?

    The quote from the politico seems almost wilfully myopic and stupid.

  6. It is so idiotic to criminalize objects rather than behavior.

    If I wanted to stab somebody I could do it with a pencil. What’s next? Turn all of the UK into a padded asylum?

  7. Are pint glass injuries a significant problem in the UK? Are measures like these, to treat the most superficial symptoms of (perceived?) underlying problems in the silliest way possible, actually popular? Are Britons really this scared of each other? Why?

  8. This is something that has been done at large events and festivals in Australia for a very long time. I don’t have a problem with it, and frankly, to suggest it’s some kind of nanny-state overreaction that should be resisted is a bit childish – it’s just publicans trying to limit their liability and costs.

    I admit though, I do like the taste of a pint better out of glass than plastic, but as I said in Australia it tends only to be at festivals and special events where it makes financial sense (if you’ve ever lived near the trash area outside a bar in Australia, you know they waste easily a couple of hundred pint glasses a week) to use plastic pints. (Or student bars)

  9. I think the root cause of the problem here is hands. Anything that can be held in one’s hand can be a weapon.

    Outlaw hands. Problem solved.

  10. I’ve noticed that the majority of those involved in bar-brawls wear trousers, does that mean…

    Oh shit.

    — MrJM

  11. I can’t help but feel a lot of you have missed the point.

    YES pint glass stabbings are a significant proportion of injuries.
    YES the wounds created are absolutely horrific (ask an ambulance driver about ‘gloving’, or Google it, I dare you…).
    And to go back to the original poster, it is true that an angry person is as likely to grab a chair when a glass isn’t available. It is also true that they are significantly less likely to horrifically wound or kill with even a glancing blow as they are with a pint glass.

    If you feel that the proposal here is to ban glass in pubs, you’ve misread. It’s simply looking into other ways of designing glasses rather than the common, cheap, easy to break glass ones; there isn’t even any suggestion that they shouldn’t be replaced with a different glass design.

    Granted, it is easy to say that violent people will be violent anyway and this won’t stop them. They will, and this won’t. That doesn’t mean we should carry on wilfully arming them.

  12. I can’t totally disagree with the proposal, mostly because I’m from New York. At Shea Stadium they used to have a problem with people throwing glass bottles at the outfielders. They stopped selling beer in bottles, the bottle-throwing stopped. Maybe there are other reasons that contributed to the cessation of hostilities, but that doesn’t mean banning glass didn’t help.

    (But maybe only bars with chronic problems should be forced to switch to plastic, instead of ruining it for everyone.)

  13. Knee jerk reaction typical of the nanny state in the UK. “If you can’t play nice we’ll take away your toys”.

    As for the comment about the lack of policing, that’s spot on. It’s not about crime prevention now, it’s about detection, hence all the CCTV.

  14. I really didn’t think it could get any more absurd when they started putting restrictions on frigging kitchen utensils… but bloody pint glasses? I am pretty sure the beer INSIDE the pint glass is far more likely to harm you than then glass itself. What is next, no more glass bottles, all bar stools need to nailed to the ground, all corners must have rounded edges, rocks and sticks are hear by banned, pools can be no deeper than a meter deep, YOU CAN ONLY GO OUT IN PUBLIC IF YOU ARE COVERED IN STYROFOAM AND SOMEONE IS HOLDING YOUR HAND!

    Isn’t there supposed to be a few more steps before, “and then they came for my bloody pint glass?”

  15. @MBATEY

    That was exactly what I thought. A lot of clubs already do this, simply to prevent accidents and damage. And hell, if you are drinking cheap larger I don’t think the plastic is going to ruin your taste experience.

    Those of us who like to drink something with a taste, in a nice environment without a hint of menace, can continue to use glass.

  16. Require that beer be sold in gallons. Those are too unwieldy to make good weapons.

    Besides, nobody is going to hit someone with a partially-full glass–that wastes beer–and anyone with an empty glass is unlikely to be in much of a condition to hit anyone anyway.

  17. As annoying as drinking out of a shitty plastic mug is, I think I’d rather that than suffer one of the horrific injuries that can result from having a proper drinking vessel pounded into my face by some barbarian…

    A blanket ban is intensely idiotic though; if it were restricted to trouble spots, it’d not only serve as a warning to unfamiliar patrons what kind of pub they’re drinking in, it’d also be an incentive for management to improve the atmosphere.

    Things like employing security staff and refusing to serve bad drunks are apparently a bit of an effort for some pub owners.

  18. I can’t totally disagree with the proposal, mostly because I’m from New York.

    You fail at being from New York.

    I don’t mean to be an ass, but could we please round up all of the people that want the world to be covered in foam and ban anything sharp than nerf and dump them in one country where they can go nuts banning shit like frigging drinking vessels and kitchen utilities? I am scared shitless what the nanny state advocates are going to do when they learn that there are real danger out there in the world that actually kill people. I am pretty sure my chances of being killed by a pint glass are right up there with winning the lotto. If they saw the horrible risk of death I take each day as a blast through Boston on a shitty bike between Masshole drivers on roads without bike lanes, they would shit themselves and ban wheels.

    My god, let people live a little. Yes, some times people get hurt. It sucks, but if you never got a great big bloody scar leaving gash, you have lived a really dull life and you are probably overweight. I say bike through traffic, start a friendly drunken brawl outside, ski, hike, use a big frigging knife to chop onions, drink too much, and drink from a god damn pint glass that is actually made out of glass. I know, it is scary, but believe me, it is fun.

  19. So what? What does it matter? So long as the glasses have some substance – the plastic ones would be dreadful – but shattering windshield-style would be great.

    Trouble is, glassing someone is a fairly traditional threat, embedded in British culture. It’s vicious, visible, and clear what you’re doing. Other cultures just don’t do it. I’ve seen at least 10 people over the years waving the glass they just broke on the bar at people.

    It’s always the same ritual – it’s a ritualistic act. You break the glass (there’s a special way to do this, that people in the know know), then wave it, then shove it into the victims face, if you can. Shouting “come on then”.

    Take away the tool, you take away the ritual. In fact, with a shattering glass, you’d look very silly.

    I don’t think people will turn to chairs – that’s stupid. They’ll just fight. In the UK, it’s very very rare to see chairs used in fights. In the US, it’s one of the first things people think of. That, or their gun. Hey! If you took away the guns, people wouldn’t shoot eachother, would they!?

    It’s about injury reduction and avoidance, not making the anger disappear. But the longer after an encounter it is before a perp gets hold of a viable weapon, the more likely the adrenaline is to wash away.

    You all mock the Daily Mail, but by gum, you’re the Daily Mail inversed – you display the same set of characteristics, silly reasoning and false outcomes, and love of sensationalism. You’re like crazy twins.

    Just look at the title – “The British Home Office”, f gawd’s sake.

    The cops have this one right. I just wish they’d focus on something more important – like reducing road injuries and deaths.

    By the way, have any of you commenters ever been in a bar fight? Useful experience, that. No unicorns in that little storm system. No false prophets, no half-arsed semi-educated pseudo-philosophers. Just raw, real people.

    The best technique I’ve seen though for dealing with trouble pubs is painting them pink, inside and out. The trouble element can’t face the shame of going to a pink pub. Works wonders.

    Now that’s practical.

  20. Is this basically the same as the BBC News story “Pubs warn over plastic pints plan” that I can’t link to, last updated Monday, 24 August 2009? If so, the government hasn’t said it should be mandatory.

    Frankly, I think there are some pubs and clubs it should be a condition of keeping a license that they stop using glass. if there’s a problem with violence in a specific venue, they should have their glassware rights removed.

    There are loads of places you don’t get glass pints and you don’t hear people moaning about how their beer doesn’t coat the plastic properly. As I said in the Reddit posting that already hashed all this out:

    …I don’t think I’ve ever gone a night where there hasn’t been at least one smashed bottle or glass. I’ve never seen it being used as a weapon, but it’s just because as people drink more, they become more clumsy. It can literally be lethal. One of my close friends stepped on a freshly broken glass in a club and cut her foot open (on her birthday, of all nights!). If someone drops their drink, the floor becomes slippery and scattered with shards of glass. It could have been a lot worse. Apart from nostalgia, there’s no real reason to have glass in a modern venue. At gigs and festivals, we drink out of paper cups, who cares?

    @6 MORIARTY: Please excuse me C&Ping the reply I made to a similar post on Reddit, but glass-related injuries are a problem that are seemingly easily solved with plastic glasses in venues where people don’t behave:
    A quick search of the BBC news site will show you the sort of thing. The example that most people remember was someone throwing a glass bottle that smashed and killed a mother of three.

  21. Funny that they blame the glass and not the contents – if they’re going to ban something, might as well just ban the beer in the first place and reduce barroom brawling by 100%.

  22. Um, I don’t know about you, but this seems like an eminently sensible thing to do.

    You know why?

    Because I remember that scene in Trainspotting where Begbie shoves a glass into a guy’s face and basically carves the guy up to shit. And the scene where he tosses a pint glass over his shoulder and breaks some poor girl’s head open.

    I don’t drink, but I’ve got a scar on my finger where a McDonald’s promotion glass – made out of thin, brittle glass – shattered in my hand and cut me up pretty good.

    I don’t drink, I’ve never been to a pub, I just know that getting stitches is a pain in the ass.

    -Darren MacLennan

  23. This is silly and I hope we never get to that in North America.
    I hate drinking out of a plastic glass. It tastes disgusting, and it’s much less hygienic than real glass.
    Bacterias grow on plastic. Moreover, there’s always a risk of contamination (e.g. PVC) with the plastic chemicals seeping into your drink.

  24. @ NEXY

    “and you don’t hear people moaning about how their beer doesn’t coat the plastic properly”

    Yeah you do. Maybe not in those words but the majority of beer drinkers prefer glass over plastic.

    Glass conducts heat better than plastic, meaning the rim is roughly the same temperature as the beer. In a plastic glass the rim is nearer room temperature which isn’t nice when drinking. People also dislike the feel on their lips/teeth.

    The idea of a plastic coating to the glass has merit though – coatings currently made for windows are very strong and thin. But cost would be a huge issue I think.

  25. In the UK they have invented the verb “to glass”. It basically means to deliberately attack and injure someone with a broken pint glass. Everybody also know what an ASBO is.

    The thug/drinking/football/glassing aspect of UK society one of the things I do not miss now I’ve moved away.

  26. @ DANEYUL

    What if plastic glasses become a stigma of violent pubs, thus scaring away their better behaved customers and effectively being a death sentance to many establishments?

    What if technology can provide a solution that is neither glass or plastic but has the best qualities of both?

    Should a pub be forced to use plastic only after a customer has been glassed up? Or is non-glass violence and other license infractions like drugs, noise, drunken & disorderly behavior or underage drinkers enough to put a pub into the category of mandating plastic pints?

    It’s not as simple as yes for violence, no otherwise.

  27. I’m 100% certain I’ll be called an idiot, er, gently corrected if I’m wrong, but didn’t they already try this?

    I seem to remember that they banned the traditional dimpled pint mug because they were being used as weapons.

    If THAT didn’t work, and they’re STILL bashing each other in the face with drinking vessels, wtf makes you think that making them use plastic will make them any more benign?

    How about a series of tubes…metred output — when you’ve sipped the equivalent of a pint from a long rubber tube, the barkeep turns off your little spigot.

    Ah, hell, then they’ll just strange each other with the tubes.

    (walks away, muttering to self)

  28. Take an empty plastic beer cup, the flexible kind that are dispensed by the thousands at sporting events, flatten and fold it just the right way, and you can put a fairly keen point and edge on it. Grasp firmly between finger and thumb, and you can easily inflict a nasty ragged slash wound with it.

    There is no end to this. Common objects found in any room can be made lethal: the weapon is the mind, not the object.

    Better to create a society where people don’t attack strangers in pubs. That’s harder than knee-jerk reactions, though.

  29. Alright, so apparently it IS a problem. Weird. Anyone have any theories why? (“The presence of glass objects” being insufficient as an explanation.)

  30. Aww, fer fuck’s sake. I always laughed at my limey friends when they “whinged” about the nanny state, but this takes the figgy pudding. Whinge on, mates. Whinge on.

  31. Do a Google Image search for glassing attack and you’ll see why this problem gets taken seriously (warning – unicorn chaser likely to be required). A faceful of freshly-broken glass can leave very nasty injuries that even if not life-threatening may result in permanent severe scarring.

    But yes, banning the pint glass is a ludicrous response. Better surely for pub owners (most are owned by large franchise chains) to be encouraged to treat incidents of a glass being smashed and waved at another customer as deserving much the same response as if a knife had just been pulled. And if someone is arrested for this (after all, their fingerprints are likely to be all over the item in question) then prosecute them for possession of an offensive weapon, which the Court of Appeal held in R v Simpson to include a bottle broken for the clear purpose of being used as a weapon.

    On another note, Rindan @14 – enough with the fattist remarks, OK?

  32. #24:
    “What if plastic glasses become a stigma of violent pubs, thus scaring away their better behaved customers and effectively being a death sentance to many establishments?”

    And then the establishment with a history of uncontrolled violence gets shut down?

    I’m not seeing the downside here…

  33. Why not just make tempered pint glasses? That way, if they manage to break them, they shatter into fragments. TUA

  34. Well, if they really want to reduce risk, they’d keep the glass and ditch the insides; I imagine, oh, the “being drunk” aspect is more of a indicator of violence than the “drinking container” aspect is.

    Not that I advocate prohibition–I don’t–but this is a lot like the old joke about the drunk looking under the streetlight for his lost quarter because the light is better there. The problem is obviously that people are hurting one another, but solving (or even addressing) that problem is obviously just toooo haaarrrddd….

  35. @26 – it’s a problem because it’s a wonderful way to gain “respect”. The victim is unlikely to die, but suffers a gory injury, with amazing visuals in front of the crowd you’re out to impress. Blood everywhere, screaming and whimpering. The perp stands with his weapon (or legs it) defiantly. Everyone knows who did it – but not a soul will talk to the cops. The vic suffers lifelong scarring as a minimum – probably loses an eye.

    It’s pretty old-fashioned and basic: to be top of the tree, do something violent, vicious, fast and memorable.

    Then it simply trickles into yob culture and becomes mundane.

    It’s all very, very British. Goes nicely with a glaswegian kiss, but you’re really not likely to get both moves in.

    I refer the honourable audience to the recent scrummages involving Millwall football fans.

  36. What is it with the head butting and the bottle wielding and all the other sneak attacks that seem to constitute their fighting style over there?

    Is that going on here too, and I’m just not noticing it? Or have Americans mainly moved up to the gun attack?

  37. #24, some city-centre pubs DO already use plastic when it gets to fightin’ evenings. It’s a really good, clear sign that your’re in a rough dive.

  38. “I say bike through traffic, start a friendly drunken brawl outside, ski, hike, use a big frigging knife to chop onions, drink too much, and drink from a god damn pint glass that is actually made out of glass.”

    I would love to see a friendly drunken brawl. If you’re planning on starting one, may I suggest that your quest begins in Newcastle? I’m told that cuddly drunken brawling is something of a local sport.

  39. Having been glassed once myownself (not deliberately, but I happened to be unfortunate enough to go in for a drink at the very moment an intoxicated rugby player got overly enthusiastic about the song “500 Miles”) I can say that it sucks, but seriously? Banning glass from all pubs due to limited violence in certain places?

    Surely the solution is to treat the problem where it exists rather than make the whole class stay for afterschool detention?

  40. Plastic isn’t the only solution to sharp glass. Try just switching to a different form of glass.

    Option 1: Borosilicate (pyrex) is pretty hard to break. Not that they can’t be broken, but it’ll take a bit more effort. As a side benefit, they will last a long time.

    Option 2: Tempered glass (like windshields) breaks into lots of tiny pieces. Try threatening someone with a handful of gravel, possibly bloody.

    Option 3: Wire reinforced glass (security window) might break, but would remain a pretty lousy weapon. Plus the glasses themselves would look pretty cool.

  41. Based on what I know about the UK from the film “Trainspotting”, a pint glass smashed in the face is very common. Like, “Hey how are ya, mate?” Smash, pint glass to the face.

  42. @ JERRIL
    And then the establishment with a history of uncontrolled violence gets shut down?

    I’m not seeing the downside here…

    I’d prefer if they haven’t yet been shut down that the business is given the best chance to improve and survive, that’s all. Punishing a single incident of violence in a way that might produce more violence in the future is counter-productive.

  43. Hey! According to the RoSKA in 2002 almost one thousand (!) people where injured by cardigan sweaters and another 13.407 by socks, stockings and thighs.

    THAT makes you think…

    Also: “I’d much rather be clubbed to death with a pewter tankard”

  44. What is it with the head butting and the bottle wielding and all the other sneak attacks that seem to constitute their fighting style over there?

    Is that going on here too, and I’m just not noticing it? Or have Americans mainly moved up to the gun attack?

    Traditionally, knives and guns were not used in thug violence and are still seen as somewhat weak. If you’re tough you can fight in any situation with your fists and whatever’s to hand. Which is why ashtrays and pint glasses are popular, as well as ‘tight spot’ attacks like the headbutt.

    The typical British fight escalates very quickly; so it’s not a sneak attack, but you still need to be fast. It’s definitely not a situation where you walk outside, size the other guy up, agree terms and then commence fisticuffs.

  45. The article also states that
    ‘13,407 were injured in accidents involving “socks, tights or stockings.”‘

    I’ve drunk out of a plastic cup at theaters and it
    wasn’t so bad, but the feel of the glass and the look of the lacing clinging to the side of the glass is part of the aesthetic experience if drinking a pint of good beer in a nice place.
    Plus if I’m drinking from a glass that a stranger
    had his mouth on earlier I’m going to want it to be made from something hygienic and sanitizable like glass.

    If I’m going to go to an English pub for a pint as a tourist I’m certainly not going to want to have it in a plastic cup. It it’s really a safety issue,the pints out to be made from something like ceramic or tempered glass.

  46. So should we open a pub called The Padded Room then? Plastic cups all surfaces padded, no furniture, straitcoats optional….

  47. #14

    Oh hilarious, it’s a person from Boston telling me I fail at being from New York. And that I’m probably fat. Seriously?

    Some of the commenters who actually frequent bars have noted that yes, pint glasses have been used as weapons, and quite frequently. I cited an example local to me where banning glass seemed to have helped. Are you suggesting that they shouldn’t have banned the glass bottles, and that the outfielders should simply learn to live with having glass thrown at them?

    Neither of these was a knee-jerk reaction to one incident. They were both suggestions to solve a persistent problem caused by bad behavior. Maybe instead of insults and cries of “nanny state” it would be better to come up with a solution that’s agreeable to everyone.

  48. I had to have facial reconstructive surgery thanks to a beer bottle. I’m still not going to a bar that serves drinks in plastic glasses.

  49. Using government to remove any possibility of injury or wrong doing is child, knee-jerk, and far more dangerous than any pint glass.

  50. Guess I’ll need to start carrying my Pewter tankard around more and not just to Folk festivals.

    Along with Arran jumpers and Finger in the ear singing the glint of Pewter Tankards along the bar may be a point of ridicule for folkies, but beer from a cool Pewter tankard is just as palatable as glass (maybe more so) and infinitely better than plastic. I know the tankard tied to the belt is a stereotype, but given the choice between the ghastliness of plastic and cool beer with some teasing then pewter wins every time. If this goes ahead I’m sure we’ll see a revival of the tankard at the bar.

  51. If any of you had actually read the article you’d know that
    1) Nowhere was it suggested that pubs would be forced to use plastic glasses
    2) The old glass mugs aren’t used because they don’t stack very well, and are much more expensive
    3) Pubs in rough areas (and “careless” places, like festivals, gigs and student places) already use plastic glasses

    To requote some of what was quoted above:
    “Is it necessary to replace the much-loved pint glass for safety reasons in the vast majority of pubs where there is no problem?” Yes, said the Home Office Minister.
    Notice, the Home Office Minister didn’t actually say “yes”. The article writer made it up.

  52. 55 and 57, you made me laugh – great stuff!

    And why the headbutt? It’s devastating. And extremely bloody. You hit someone hard with the toughest bit of your head, and their teeth pop out, their skin cuts deeply if you get the top of the eyesocket, their nose pops all over the place, and the blood doesn’t stop running.

    You just stand there looking tough, having made a small, fast move. You can get your entire weight behind it too.

    So in the UK, keep your head down when fighting.

    And guns … they’re for “pussies”

  53. first off, i love my beer and hate to drink in anything other than a glass.

    however, i was recently at a show with my wife when a pint glass dropped from the balcony (15-20ft up), grazed off a friends head, and slammed her right under her eye. my friend was left with a bump on the head and my wife still has a black eye 2 weeks later.
    had this hit either of them squarely, it could have been a lot more serious.

    i can deal with drinking from a plastic cup after this experience.

  54. Perhaps they could make the glasses out of that safety glass that shatters into small cubes? Or have bands of scoring around the glass at intervals, so when they get smashed only small shards come off, leaving the perp with a few small, hard to hold bits of glass and a slightly smaller glass with no jagged rim? They’re probably right that innovative design can help, but just making everything plastic doesn’t seem that innovative to me.

  55. Out of interest, can anyone show me the bit where anyone from the government says that they are planning on mandating glassware? As far as I can see, the Home Office is paying designers to come up with better plastic glasses so that they are a more satisfying alternative – not proposing banning anything.

    I’d be happy to be proven wrong though – the Home Office has done far stupider things before now.

  56. I don’t understand. If pint glasses are the problem, can’t they just convert to half-liter glasses? This is an imperial/metric issue, right?

  57. There is an election coming up, so no proposal is too stupid – this one is clearly aimed at Daily Mail middle-englanders, as messing with the pints of Sun readers is gonna get them nowhere…

  58. I came here for “nanny state” and “pint-sippy-cup” jokes, and instead I got intelligent, reasoned debate. You people disappoint me! ;)

  59. Glassing is a nasty thing to happen to someone. Preventing glassing with police intervention would require a cop in every bar, obviously impossible. Preventing it by switching to plastic glasses would help a little bit. Bottles are still around, sure, but hey, the glasses are a partial solution. Plastic glasses, conveniently, also happen to be noticeably cheaper than nice glass.

    Give bars a nice generous timeframe to swap over and the negative impact may be pretty neglible.

    In the end the merits of the idea simply boil down to whether you feel the beneficial results are worth the cost and effort of a law, to the government and to business owners. Myself I’d probably try to focus on cost/benefit analysis. Mocking it just because people will find ways around it is honestly just a subspecies of “There Are Greater Evils In The World So This One Doesn’t Matter”. In addition to being a throw-away excuse to prematurely dismiss a potentially worthwhile issue, it’s a sleight to an issue where there is potentially greater depth of discussion that doesn’t always deserve such offhand dismissal.

    Honestly, if the UK already goes so far as to legally mandate how much beer and wine must be poured in a glass, this isn’t much worse, and the intent and effects are probably more worthy.

    The meat of the question is whether regulating this would do more harm than good (and this applies of course to every reach of its effects, including personal opinions on government intervention). If it wouldn’t be a net loss in people’s opinions, well, why not? It might not be resoundingly helpful, but if it’s a little helpful why refuse it?

  60. Regarding post #7, this is what has recently happened in Sydney.
    For whatever reason “glassing” really took off here for a while, and so the NSW government made a list of the most violent pubs in the state and imposed licensing restrictions, including having to serve out of plastic cups in certain hours, as well as not being able to serve alcohol for 10 minutes every hour during certain hours. The result? A big decrease in the number of people suffering severe facial injuries.

  61. Doesn’t it just subtly incite rage when you serve someone a plastic glass because they might do something criminal with it?

  62. #73 probably, but it doesn’t matter. You’re still not going to get your face cut up with a jagged glass edge. I’ve been beaten up with fists and boots and while it hurts at the time, permanent damage is actually pretty unlikely.

    I suspect the USians in this thread are missing the subculture in the UK and Australia that makes this a reasonably good idea in known rough areas.

  63. @67 – but. that means you cheated ?

    it’s actually an interesting challenge to designers to come up with a nice solution to a problem.

    so what could have been an interesting story about industrial design or materials science becomes another nanny state rant.

    but it’s sounds more zomg noes if it’s from bay area legal blog.

  64. Just a quick counter to all the smug Americans here. Ex Brit living in Los Angeles never saw a real set of darts in LA bars, they’re all those plastic ones that look like childrens toys. Just sayin’

  65. beer fell on the bar room floor
    as the bar room closed for the night

    a rat crawled from its hole in the wall
    and sat in the pale moonlight

    It drank up the beer from the bar room floor
    and onto its haunches it sat

    for the rest of the night you could hear it roar
    “bring on the f*cking cat!”

  66. The issue is that pint glasses are generally made out of cheap, brittle glass that shatters in a very nasty way. I’ve seen a lot of people glassed, sometimes by people holding the pint (deep wounds and spectacular blood fountain), other times by people throwing a glass into someone’s face from short range (widespread tissue damage – friend of mine got 58 stitches in his face this way). Pint glasses are a handy weapon (literally). It’s not usually anything to do with being drunk, more to do with being men.

    Changing to tougher glass is not a “nanny” issue – it is totally, eminently and obviously sensible, but expensive. Changing to plastic glasses is horrible and stupid (but cheap). Guess which one we’ll get?

  67. If some British Gov’t official tries to take my glass pint away I will smash it in their face!

    oh wait

  68. Also… a more constructive comment:

    RE: brittle glass. Generally the 15ish oz “pint” glasses in US bars are so thick that I’m pretty sure if you smashed it in somebody’s face you’d knock them clean out and the glass would be left intact. I have some at home and they are indestructible.

    I guess the English ale and Guinness glasses I’ve seen do feel a bit flimsy.

  69. I guess the English ale and Guinness glasses I’ve seen do feel a bit flimsy.

    Having worked as a bartender in a pub in Scotland, I can confirm that the cheap glass pint glasses there will crack if you look at them the wrong way. And they crack in a very consistent way, with a hook-shaped sliver line from mid-glass to the top. Hit the glass with a little force against something, and you get just about the nastiest jagged cutting surface possible.

  70. @73 no, of course not, please visit the outside world.

    @78 my hero of the day – lovin’ ya

    When I started drinking beeeeer in the UK, a while ago, say 20 years, I recall big, heavy, round, glass pint tankards. Handy weapons. They’ve gone!

    No one has mentioned them on this commentary, and no-one misses them in real life. Because the beer delivery mechanisms we have now are equally effective. (and you could never have glassed someone with a tankard)

  71. Hell, if they banned pint glasses anywhere I lived, I’d just bring my own pint glass and tell ’em to “Fill ‘er up!”. I’m not drinking an ale out of a plastic cup.

  72. Hey, waitaminute…isn’t plastic, like, bad for the environment or some crap? Good GOD, Britons – think of your carbon footprints!!!

    Seriously, this conservative anon says that the liberal anon from the 9/30 comment has a point. “If you think it can’t really get that bad, just look at the UK!” is something I’ve said more than once. Regarding gun laws, knife laws, and living in a surveillance society. Yeah, those cameras everywhere are really making people safer huh?

    Instead of wasting time and money and ROYALLY screwing up things for EVERYONE (the crooks AND the law-abiding majority), why not make an example out of a few ‘bottle-fighters’ by locking them away for a few decades?

    As per usual though, (and I’m not just talking about the UK), the government goons and the cops find things MUCH easier when they devote their time to harassing the law-abiding rather than chasing down the criminals!

  73. Let me say something that no one has said here: I’ve glassed someone. It was in self defense, when a drunk tried to strangle me (for standing too close to his ugly girlfriend). I was sober- on my first pint, in fact. In America. It wasn’t planned– it all happened in about two seconds. What did I learn from this, and everything I’ve read here? 1) I should have dropped my glass, and slugged him. 2) Drinking good beer (not piss like Budweiser) is ruined by plastic- plus, plastic has carcinogens (BPAs) that will probably kill us. 3) There’s no good beer left to drink in the UK. In the 80s there was “Real Ale,” but it all tastes like shite now in comparison to craft beers in the US. The UK needs a beer renaissance.

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