For most of us, we think that the shape and size of the glass of wine that we’re drinking from don’t make a difference when it comes to how much wine we consume. However, researchers, including studies backed by psychologists, prove that it does make a huge difference on the volume of wine we drink and how fast or slow we tend to finish our wine, beer, and even juices.
Below are some types of shapes and sizes of glasses that are typically used at home, at the workplace, and in restaurants. Descriptions of how much beverage is consumed depending on the glass are also discussed.
Straight Vs. Curved
A study was done from the University of Bristol, UK. The first group of subjects was asked to use curvy glasses versus the second group, which were asked to drink from straight and un-curved glasses. Amazingly, those who drank beverages from the straight glasses finished theirs 60% slower compared to those who drank from the curved glasses.
The researchers explained the result as something that was influenced by the difficulty of the subjects in approximating the halfway point of the curvy glass. Thus, they continued to drink without knowing how far they’ve gone. In straight-sided glasses, you are able to identify the halfway point, which makes you become cautious of the amount of wine or beer you will consume.
Tall and Thin, Short And Wide
For this study, juice was the constant variable. Using a short and wide glass versus a tall and thin one, the subjects consumed more juice using the former compared to the latter. This was particularly obvious with the children subjects, a whopping 74% more for the short, wide glass. The adults consumed relatively more, although with a lesser percentage of less than 20%.
Unlike the study using the curved and straight glasses, where it was influenced mostly by the difficulty in estimating the volume, this second study proved that individuals have a tendency to favor height than width. That is why when they poured their juice, they poured equally on the two glasses, using the brim as their reference. They ignored the width of the glass, and when they drank all the way from the short and wide glass, they consumed more.
Size Does Matter With Wine
Unlike other beverages that are served full, wine is typically served halfway through the glass. The principle behind this is that a space is left for the drinker to smell the wine, which is vital in wine tasting. It also offers greater opportunity for more elaborate experiments on the effects of glasses and other containers.
In Cambridge, England, a study was done to measure alcohol consumption in a bar. The constant variable was the amount of wine, which was about 6 ounces, and the changing variable was the size of the glasses used. The first glass used was of standard size, about 300 ml, or 10 ounces. When the glasses were changed to different sizes, such as from 300 ml to 375 ml or about 12 ounces, but with the same amount poured in both glasses, the bar drinkers consumed more than 14% more wine!
The study concluded with this: most individuals consume more wine because of the general belief that quantities are perceived to be lower when it is served in larger glasses. Additionally, others may have more trouble estimating the serving size when a large portion of the glass is empty, much like the short and wide glass study.
Creating A Smart Approach
Restaurants and bars are in an awkward situation about the beverages that they sell. Yes, every establishment aims to increase their sales, but the restaurant and bar owners must also be cautious not to push their customers to over-consume until they are intoxicated. Generally, most establishments use narrow or curved glasses for serving beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. Perhaps they didn’t know about the interesting facts about glass size and shape, but eventually, they’ve turned towards shapes that would encourage faster consumption.
The short, wide glasses may also increase consumption of almost all types of drinks. However, bar and restaurant owners must keep in mind that although soft drinks and beer are served almost to the brim despite the glass shape, serving spirits into these kinds of glass might cause over-pouring even by seasoned bartenders. Also, when bars serve beers by the pitcher, the short and wide glasses could increase beverage consumption, just as wide glasses do. This may be great for sales but could probably result in lesser customer satisfaction, owing to the quick emptying of the pitcher.
As individuals, we should also be careful of the effects of the size and shape of glasses too. If we want to drink beer tonight but are trying to lessen our alcohol consumption, then we should go for the tall and straight-sided glass. Stay away from the curved and wide ones, as they are most likely to cause us to underestimate our total alcohol consumption.