New research from the University of Bristol suggest the shape of the glass can affect the speed at which people drink alcohol. Findings from the study were presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference.

Dr. Angela Attwood and David Troy, PhD candidate, set out to evaluate what environmental factors may influence excessive alcohol use and how they can be altered to encourage more responsible consumption. About 160 social drinkers with no history of alcohol problems were randomized to two groups. One group was given beer in a curved glass with markings showing measurements of a quarter, half, and three quarters; the other group’s glasses had no marked volume measurements. Data showed the group with the marked glasses had slower drinking times vs. the non-marked glasses group (10.3mins vs. 9.1mins).

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Troy and colleagues then tested whether the effect of different shaped (straight vs. curved) pint and half-pint glasses could be reflected in a real-world setting. Data from three public houses showed that pubs using straight-sided glasses reported lower consumption. This showed previous findings that people drink slower from straight glasses.

Changes in glass shape and volume markings can help people drink slower and more responsibly, Attwood concluded. Since only a small number of pubs participated in a short time scale, these preliminary results needed to treated with caution.

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