The shape of your beer mug might help explain why you get drunk so fast

In a recent study at the University of Bristol, young people drank beer faster when it was served to them in a curved, fluted glass. It's a small study, but the researchers think it could be a first clue toward understanding why we sometimes get more drunk than we meant to do. Researchers found it was difficult for people to judge volume of liquid in a curved glass, which might mean it's also harder to pace drinking. (Via Noah Gray)


  1. If you need to judge the volume of liquid in your glass and pace yourself, you’re already drinking too much.

  2. I remember seeing a demonstration of this effect many years ago with sherry glasses (on How 2, IIRC); because of the rapid widening towards the top, the top 1/5 of height had the same volume as the bottom 4/5, or something like that.

  3. Oh yeaaaaaahhhhh it was the damn beer mug.  And the shape of the doorway to that bar; I couldn’t resist.  That kind of architecture should be OUTLAWED.

  4. a first clue toward understanding why we sometimes get more drunk than we meant to do

    Really?  We don’t have even a first clue yet?

    We all know alcohol, by it’s nature of reducing inhibition, makes you do all kinds of things that you did not mean to do.  But we have NO CLUE why people get more drunk than they meant to?  (HINT: alcohol).

    1. Even more interesting is studies where people who are told they are being given alcohol but aren’t yet still act drunk.

  5. If true, this means the optimum strategy for establishments that serve alcohol is to use small graduated cylinders that say precisely how much is in them. You pay by the glass, so there’s no advantage to using deceptively large containers; at best they will purchase the same number of glasses but you’ll be out more alcohol. With containers that tell you precisely how much is in them, you’ll be able to serve smaller ones.

    1. Wouldn’t work for the UK context the study was carried out in, as there are very specific measures licenced bars are permitted to serve – draught beer must come in measures of a pint (in a 568 ml CE-marked glass), or ¹∕₃, ¹∕₂, or ²∕₃ thereof. Wine only comes as 125, 175 or 250 ml glasses, and spirits are sold by the 25 ml (single) or 50 ml (double) shot. Beer festivals always go the extra mile and ‘pint to line’ glasses to ensure the precise amount is being sold. Drinking is srs bzns in this green and pleasant land :-/

  6. l = Current idea of a reasonable limit
    c = Number of drinks already consumed
    s = Shape of glass
    f = Some function of the shape of the glass

    f(s) = 3
    l [c : c = 1] = l [c-1] + 1

    (In brief, shape of glass has some effect early on. Later, binge drinkers mostly think, “I’ll just have one more.” regardless of shape of glass.)

  7. As a Belgian, and used to very curvy and original glasses for beer (each beer has its own glass shape) , I can see what they mean in the extreme case of a glass shaped like an upturned cone, when the liquid reaches half the glass, you already drank over 5/6th of the beer. So if you want to finish your meal, or continue chatting with your friends, you have to order a new beer.

    Now, let’s see witch one I will chose…

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