New research from the University of Cambridge has given the old trope that, given a bigger glass, people will drink more, a slightly new twist: It turns out larger glassware leads to more wine consumption even when the pours going into those different-sized glasses remain constant.
In the study, a pub called the Pint Shop in Cambridge cycled through three different sizes of wine glasses -- their standard 300-mililiter glass, a slightly smaller 250-mililiter glass and a larger 370-mililiter glass – every two weeks for sixteen weeks. However, patrons were not alerted to the changes and the pour size of 175 milliliters remained the same. At the end of the experiment, researchers found that wine sales were 9 percent higher when the larger glasses were used compared to the standards ones. The smaller glasses had a negligible effect on sales.
“It may be people perceiving the glass to contain less and drinking it faster,” lead researcher Theresa Marteau told the Wall Street Journal. She also suggested the findings may stem from “unit bias,” where people feel like the larger glasses made it appear like they weren’t getting a full portion.
James Hickey, the Pint Shop’s general manager, had a slightly different take. “As you would imagine … we’ve started using the larger glasses, which I know wasn’t the reason behind the study from Cambridge University’s point of view.” Hey, the guy’s running a pub, not a research lab. Now if only he can enlist the university to figure out to sell more meat pies. Any universities got any studies on that?