Beer glass sizes in Australia

Following the last article about the Australian system for beer glasses, we look at the Australian system for serving draught beer. In Australia, all beer glass sizes are defined in millilitres.

The Australians have a 570 ml glass, unsurprising called the pint. It is an imperial pint rounded up to the nearest 5 ml. There is also a glass size called a schooner, which holds 425 ml, approximately three-quarters of a pint. The pot or middy beer glass holds 285 ml, which corresponds to half an imperial pint. The pony size holds 140 ml, roughly a quarter of an imperial pint. The butcher size is 200 ml in volume, which is one-fifth of a litre or just over a third of an imperial pint. All these sizes are widely used in many major Australian cities.

Some venues also serve a jug size of 1140 ml, equivalent to two pints. This is suitable for sharing with friends or colleagues.

The Government allows one-third and two-thirds pint sizes but these have been a flop. It is almost impossible to find any licensed venues offering beer and cider drinkers these sizes. So, beer and cider drinkers are left with two choices for glass sizes, unless they order bottles or cans. These glass sizes are a half pint and a whole pint.

The UK can replace the pint sizes with millilitre sizes like the ones they have in Australia and consider allowing some other sizes. The inclusion of 285 ml and 570 ml sizes ensures that the current draught sizes can continue to be used. Traditionalists can still enjoy their half-pint and pint. If you want a glass of beer or cider, you have far fewer choices of size than drinkers of port, sherry and wine. Why can beer and cider drinkers only choose between two glass sizes?


6 thoughts on “Beer glass sizes in Australia”

  1. Yes, but to what point in the glass is the quantity measured? Is it calibrated up to a marked line? Or does it apply to a completely full glass, with all the consequences of arguments over whether there should be a head, or whether it should be full to the brim, and the safety aspect of beer being on spilt, etc.?

    It is not clear from any of the sources of reference. Does anyone know?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. @Metricmac

    This article from 2007 discusses the issues of using brim measures:

    … the glasses in which beer is normally served may be either brim measures – that is, the glass must be completely full to the brim, or the glass may have a lined mark (etched, printed or moulded) indicating the amount. Overwhelmingly, British pubs use brim measure rather than lined glasses.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “The Australians have a 570 ml glass, unsurprising called the pint.”

    It shouldn’t be surprising nor unsurprising as pubs in any of the Commonwealth countries including England use a standard 570 mL glassware and call it a pint.

    The word pint originated from the Latin word pincta, which means paint and it refers to a painted marked line on glassware to indicate a fill mark. Thus, any marked glass is a pint no matter what the volume.

    “The UK can replace the pint sizes with millilitre sizes like the ones they have in Australia and consider allowing some other sizes. ”

    There is no need to replace any glassware as the standard glassware sizes are already in the same rounded metric sizes mentioned in the article. But what England needs to do that is in line with Australia and the other Commonwealth countries is to legally redefine the pint to equal exactly 570 mL in the WMA and everything will be in sync with both the glassware already in use and the WMAs in the Commonwealth countries.


  4. Metricmac:

    In reply to your question, which I assume is about Australia, I can tell you from very recent experience in Western Australia that the 570 ml ‘pint’ glass is a brim glass, half of which is lost as you carry it back to your table. (I exaggerate!) So, much like the UK before the days of marked glasses.


  5. @m

    Thanks for your reply. I have read right through the 2007 article, and left a fairly lengthy response.

    My understanding is that is compulsory by law for public houses to use brim measures, unless the beer is delivered by a metered pump. Such pumps have lost popularity nowadays and are rarely found.

    Members’ clubs and similar organizations are subject to less-stringent regulations and may use lined glasses.


    Thanks for answering my question. It seems that Australia has inherited this ancient law, dating back to well before the 1970s, and has not found a way to change it.


  6. Speaking of Australia, I am watching an Australian show streamed by Netflix a few years ago about the intelligence gathering station run by both Americans and Aussies near Alice Springs. A pretty decent drama/suspense show both produced and shot in Australia that sadly did not last beyond one short season.

    My one complaint is that all of the actors, including the Aussies, consistently use “Imperial” units. This makes no sense coming either from the Aussies themselves or the Americans who have been working there for quite some time, especially when those Americans are conversing with Australians. This is so annoying and obviously pandering to a US audience that apparently is supposed to find metric units anathema according to the producers and the writers.

    The one exception was a scene in the cafeteria where one of the server ladies mentioned to one of the American employees standing in line that the A/C has been keeping the temperature down to an excessively cool 18 degrees, after which she said “For you guys that means 64 degrees Fahrenheit”.

    But even that minuscule concession to metric is pretty lame since a young Aussie cafeteria worker who has never worked in Fahrenheit would never know how to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit in her head.

    Such a shame that an otherwise decent show had to kowtow to American Ludditeism in this way when it comes to metric units. Pretty shameful. I still hope I live long enough to see us convert. Looks like we’ll be landing humans back on the moon way before that happens, though. 😦


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