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Weights & Measures

  /    /  Weights & Measures

Trading Standards Officers ensure that everyone trades competitively and fairly on a ‘level playing field’ through their enforcement of the Weights & Measures Act 1985.

Business Names:

Trading Standards always like to know who they’re dealing with. Same goes for your customers. Your trading name and details of ownership – plus the address of the premises (unless it is obvious from the situation) are required to be displayed.

Strangely enough, how and where you display the information required above is not prescribed, but it should be clear and easily readable by the average customer.

Okay, so we’ll now look at what you can and can’t do…

Beer, Lager and Cider, except when mixed with other drinks, can only be sold draught in the below quantities:

  • 1/3 pint
  • 1/2 pint
  • 2/3 pint
  • Multiples of 1/2 pints thereafter.

If you use glasses, each must be stamped with either the old ‘crown mark and number’ or the new ‘CE and M marking. As time has gone on since the change, you will find that most crown marked glasses have gone out of circulation and have been replaced by the CE marked glasses. Whether the UK will revert to crown marking post-Brexit is unknown to the authors at this time.

However, if you use meters, your glasses do not need to be marked/stamped, but the meters themselves need to be stamped instead. The customer needs to be able to see the glass being filled, and you must not fill the glass before it has been ordered.

Sale by the Jug is still undertaken in very traditional craft beer establishments and cider houses, but is far from common unless part of a special promotion you may be running. Draught beer, lager and cider can be sold by the jug provided the quantity of the sale is in multiples of pints. Here either the jug is stamped as a ‘transfer measure’ of that capacity, or the liquid is measured by a meter in front of the customer at the time of sale, but not beforehand. Pricelists must be crystal-clear about the measure that is being used in a jug sale.

Gin, Rum, Whisky & Vodka, unless they are sold in cocktails of three or more drinks, may only be sold in these quantities:

  • 25ml
  • 35ml
  • Multiples of the above quantities.

If you have changed over to use 35ml measures, the 25ml ‘thimble/jigger’ should be removed from the bar to avoid mistakes. Also, if you use 35ml measures for single shots, you cannot then use a 50ml measure for ‘doubles’ – as the correct measure would be 70ml (i.e. 2 x 35ml).

NB The old ‘imperial’ measures (e.g. one sixth of a gill) CANNOT be used for the sale of any spirits any more.

Free Pouring

Free pouring is not generally allowed. Spirits should be served as noted in the section above. However there is an exception to this rule when making cocktails which is made up of 3 or more liquids (Not Ice or Water) so cocktails can be free poured.

You should always take into account your mandatory conditions that state that there “shall be no irresponsible drink promotions” so do not offer large amounts of alcohol at cheap prices.

Ensure that a Free Pour test kit is available, that all staff are regularly trained and tested, and the training results are kept in a log. Any staff failing testing should not be permitted to free pour.

Auto Pours

If you are using auto pours, ensure these are stamped and approved. Remember that these work best for thinner mainline spirits and will fail if used on thicker spirits such as Sambuka, Flavoured Shouts and Sourz.

Ensure that these are cleaned nightly to keep them pouring correctly. It’s likely that if they do fail, it will be you loosing stock and the customer who’s gaining.

✍️ You need to put a notice, which can be easily read by your customers, stating clearly whether you are using 25 or 35ml measures.

✅ You can download a templated Measure Notice for free from the TLG Vault.

☝️ The same measure must apply right across all the bars located within your pub, bar or café.

Whatever you use to measure your spirits (e.g. optics or thimbles/jiggers) these must be stamped and be visible by your customers when they are being used. Bottle top pourers are not usually stamped, and they should ONLY be used for filling a thimble/jigger before emptying it into a glass, rather than into the glass itself for the customer.

Wine (except fortified wines) must be sold in the following quantities:

  • By the bottle
  • By the glass in 125ml, 175ml or multiples of these quantities
  • By the carafe in 250ml, 500ml, 750ml or 1 litre quantities.

Wine exemption: Wine in quantities of less than 75ml are EXEMPT from the above requirement, thus permitting ‘flights’ or ‘tasters’ of wine to be sold as samples to prospective customers.

Fortified wines must be sold by the glass in quantities of 50ml or 70ml. These quantities must be made clear to customers on a notice, or in every wine list or menu, that is easy to read (i.e. not hidden in the small print).

Needless to say again, but anything you use to measure out wine (e.g. carafes, glasses and optics) must be stamped.