Glass Shape May Influence How Fast You're Drinking Alcohol

First Posted: May 11, 2015 03:35 PM EDT

Could the shape of a glass ultimately influence how fast you drink your alcohol?

Researchers at the University of Bristol's Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group found that those who drank their beer more slowly where typically drinking in straight-sided glasses rather than curved ones.

"The speed at which beer is drunk can have a direct effect on the level of intoxication experienced," Dr. Angela Attwood, senior researcher of the study, said in a statement. "This can also increase how much is consumed in a single drinking session. While many people drink alcohol responsibly, it is not difficult to have 'one too many' and become intoxicated.

For the study, researchers recruited 80 men and 80 women with no history of alcohol issues and then split them into two groups. The members of one group were given beer in curved glasses with one-quarter, one-half and three-quarter markings. Then, the other group received beer in a curved glass with no markings.

Those with the marked glasses finished their beers in about 10.3 minutes compared to the 9.1 minutes for those with the unmarked glasses. Yet researchers also wanted to test their ideas in a real-world setting that had three pubs look at how much beer they sold over four weekends using four different kinds of glasses.

This part of the study involved three public houses (part of the Dawkins Ales) that took part over two weekends. Findings revealed that pubs that used straight-sided glasses reported lower takings, indicating less consumption. Furthermore, it was consistent with previous laboratory results that showed how participants drank slower from straight glasses.

"Our research suggests that small changes such as glass shape and volume markings can help individuals make more accurate judgments of the volume they are drinking and hopefully drinkers will use this information to drink at a slower pace," Attwood said.

The new findings were presented in Liverpool, England on May 6 at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society.

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