Straight Glasses help curb binge drinking, apparently

Drinking out of a straight and a curved glass
Drinking out of a straight and a curved glass

Dr Angela Atwood et al* recently published a paper that suggests binge drinking can be influenced by drinking from long straight glasses rather than round glasses. In the study participants were given a glass of lager either in a half or pint round glass or a half or pint straight glasses and a control group were given a lemonade in either glass. Somehow they managed to twist the arms of 160 (I presume) students aged 18-40 to take part in this experiment. According to the Mail and Bristol University the results suggest that Glass shape influences how quickly we drink alcohol.

Participants were 60% slower to consume an alcoholic beverage from a straight glass compared to a curved glass. This effect was only observed for a full glass and not a half-full glass, and was not observed for a non-alcoholic beverage

It’s a worthy study, although you wouldn’t think that if you read the comments on the Daily mail website! When I think about my own binge drinking antics I have observed that there are often other more influencing factors at work. To stay with the idea of glasses then my experiences in Germany spring to mind. Each region serves their beer in different sized and shaped glasses and when I was in Cologne, for instance, my lager was served in a small straight sided glass holding 200ml (just less than a third of a pint). It was very difficult to binge drink with glasses this size, what’s more most of the drinking was happening in a relaxed atmosphere sitting down in bars and restaurants. Everyone around me was drinking moderately and so there seemed no urgency to drink quickly.  Hamburg on other hand was a whole different matter, on the Raperbarn (famous Hamburg street) beer was being served in pint glasses and people were drinking on the streets, on public transport and in local parks. The atmosphere was electric and the booze was cheap. In this atmosphere it was almost impossible not to get drunk as a lord.

From this experience the glass was indeed part of the problem but not just the shape, the size and the atmosphere in which it was served in too.Perhaps the decline of pub culture and the rise of cafe culture in this country will see us making more of a change in our drinking habits than just the glasses we drink from.


* For those non Latin speakers “et al” simply means and all, its academic speak when there is more than one person on the paper but they are not named. Often, it means they are undergraduates in this instance I just think it makes better reading to have one name sorry – Nicholas E. Scott-Samuel, George Stothart and Marcus R. Munafò