Thursday, April 9, 2009

Honest Pints

Beervana blogger Jeff Alworth's Honest Pint Project is getting a lot of play in the news these days, and even in Salem. See his Honest Pint Project website for details about all of the news coverage. But this report by KATU's Jeff Jaeger is the best one I have seen to explain very clearly the problem.

I have blogged about the economics of the problem before: it is an asymmetric information problem - punters can't tell how much they are getting but bars know how much they are serving. The incentive then is for businesses to cheat and the market outcome will be inefficient. What is nice about this story is that they find a place, Grand Central Bowl, that intentionally uses cheater pints (14oz glasses) and advertises a 'pint' on the menu. This is exactly the problem. [As is the problem of establishments that are unwittingly using cheater pints]

But this is also why I am not so sure about the bill. It seems fairly innocuous, so I don't think there will be much harm done, but the much easier and permanent remedy has always been, in my mind, marked glassware. It is incredibly cheap (if you allow a phase in period) and solves the problem permanently.

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