Visit the Tandleman's Beer Blog site

History repeats itself, or at least, things that have happened in the past bubble up to the surface again. Sometimes they creep under your skin and cause annoyance. Now when I was a lad it was simple. If you bought a pint of beer, the corresponding half was exactly half the price. It was an easy to understand system and it worked. Of course there was always a little bit of margin creep. When I worked in the pub, most beers were priced in odd numbers. We didn't deal in half pences - and yes we did have them under decimalisation - and thus the odd half pence margin went the publicans way. Nobody liked half pence coins, so it was almost a public service and everyone was reasonably content with it.

I wrote in this piece here about what I called "Irish Arithmetic". That is charging a wildly different price than half the pint price for a half pint. I was and am agin it, with the proviso that a little light rounding in favour of the publican is OK. Like the old half pence, nobody is that keen on having a pocket full of five pences, so being consistent, I don't mind a pint at, say, £2.75 being charged at £1.40 a half. This came to my mind once more when I was trying a new beer recently. Tasters weren't offered, so wisely I chose a half. "One fifty" chirruped the barmaid. I liked the beer, so ordered a pint. "£2.75 please" quoth she.

Now don't give me all that guff about it costing more to dish up a half than a pint and other such mealy mouthed excuses. Or to accuse me of meanness or cheapness. It is sharp practice. It discriminates against smaller measures or those wishing to try several beers; it is annoying and most of all, it just isn't right.

So, publicans. Please keep the little mark up in your favour within bounds. My contribution from now on, will be to name names where it happens to excess.

Look at the comments on the previous piece about this. Interesting comments from the Beer Nut.