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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Honest Pint Bill in the Oregon Legislature?

I had gotten wind of a possible legislative remedy to the Honest Pint Project a few weeks ago. Ostrich-like, I hid out. Well, looks like it may be coming down the pike. HB 3122 is an effort very much in accord with the goals of the HPP. Some of the salient language (emphasis mine):

Allows holder of full on-premises sales license or limited on-premises sales license to obtain verification of capacity of pint glasses used at licensed premises for draught malt beverages. Allows holder to obtain display sticker from Oregon Liquor Control Commission if glasses at premises hold pint of malt beverage under standard conditions....

SECTION 2. { + (1) If the Director of Human Services ... determines, based on a random sampling of the glasses, that the glasses used at the premises hold at least 16 fluid ounces of draught malt beverage when dispensed under standard conditions established by the director, the director shall provide the holder of the license with written verification of the measurement....

(3) The Oregon Liquor Control Commission shall design a decal that features the words 'honest pint' for display at qualifying premises.... Upon receiving a valid measurement verification, the commission shall issue the holder an 'honest pint' decal for display at the licensed premises where the director conducted the measurement verification.

For what it's worth, I've slowly been trying to get my project in order. I have designed an official decal, but haven't got it reproduced. I had hoped to do that this week, and still plan to--since I would love to take the project national, state statutes and official decals won't be usuable outside Oregon, anyway. I'm also finishing up a Facebook page, which I've been delaying until the decal is complete. Now I'll have to consider the prospect of a concurrent state initiative.

I am slightly spooked to think that this thing has gotten this far. So strange.


  1. "I had gotten wind of a possible legislative remedy to the Honest Pint Project a few weeks ago.Ostrich-like, I hid out."

    WTF!!! Isn't this your cause??? Why hide?? Damn, dude! What did you want to do, stir the pot and then run and hide? :-O

    "I've slowly been trying to get my project in order..."

    By the time you get your ass in gear, the state will have a bill passed through legislature. Why don't you just say, "My voice has been heard. Now, I'm going to sit back watch others take care of it..." ;-}

    In a way, you got a lucky shake. Your voice was heard and others are now carrying the ball...

  2. This is a topic that is a major peeve of mine and I am very pleased to see some traction on the issue. Having spent a number of vacations drinking beer around Europe, it is always a slap in the face to come back to the States and realize how poorly the consumer gets treated in comparison. It's almost a guarantee to see a quantity listed on the beer menu in Europe, and then see the measurement clearly marked on the glass the beer is served in. Kudos to Oregon if this passes!

  3. Methinks you are too humble. You and your supporters deserve enormous credit for this. I think the bill, as written, may fall somewhat short of what licensees can do with their designation. For example, can they go beyond a sticker on the door? Can they use the "Honest Pint" designation in advertising and promotion? How about tent cards on the tables and imprints on the menus? I imagine the answer is yes, assuming that they following the regulations and rules as promulgated. Hope the answer is "yes" to these questions, for licensees and consumers.

  4. This is a great step forward. I wish this had some actual enforcement when establishments use the word "pint" instead of creating a new definition called "honest pint".

  5. Why not require marked glassware like the brits? Easy peasy and requires a lot less effort.

  6. Oh, yea... Other than giving Jeff a bad time....

    I hope this Bill passes through! It's about we adopted a system of accuracy in measurement for the consumer. The Europeans don't want to get screwed and neither should we!

    I'm all for the MARKED glassware!

  7. How did the bill come about? Did you work with the bill sponsors, or is this a totally separate initiative?

  8. A few general comments.

    1. I got wind of this from--I think--a staffer of Jules Kopel-Bailey, the chief sponsor. I encouraged the staffer not to seek a legislative remedy. Partly this is because I (wrongly, it looks like) thought it would be unwieldy and partly because I am not sure it's worth spending extremely tight dollars on. But the staffer said they were likely to move forward with it.

    2. I half-assedly kicked this off (classic blogger style), but you're right, Mark, it was the enthusiasm of the people who signed the petition, commented, and blogged about it that made the difference. Whether we should be doing something legislatively is beside the point in one sense; that the legislature took note of it at all is a testament to the enthusiasm of Oregon beer drinkers.

    3. My guess--and I have absolutely zero actual info about how the bill was designed--is that they've gone for this proposal because it's relatively cheap and non-invasive. I agree with Patrick and Generik that regulated glassware is the best solution. I don't think it's cheap, though. And given where we are in terms of budget constraints, cheap should be a major factor.

    4. Mike, I wasn't involved in the crafting of the bill at all, and someone emailed me the link to the bill today--first I saw of it. Still, I have to give it a tentative thumbs up. I think it's a pretty straightforward, low-impact way to provide transparency.

    5. I do love the idea that Oregon's the first to take up something like this. I am constantly proud of Beervana and how it leads the way, and the fact that we are leading the way here makes me smile with that parochial pride Oregonians are famous for. It's pretty damn cool when you think about it.

  9. That is great news for Oregon (if it passes) but what about the rest of us? I implore you to continue the Honest Pint Project. I like your idea of decals for Certified Purveyors. And how about this - you could sell swag on the project website to help raise money and awareness for the project. Like 'Official Honest Pint Project Inspector' t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc that we could wear when we go into certify a pub. :-) I realize if done without taste this garb would/could be a detriment to the project. But get a good designer and someone with better marketing skills than me to create the swag. I'm just throwing out free advice - no charge! :-)

    Keep the Honest Pints pouring!

  10. This is great! I am sick and tired of paying for a quasi-pint of my favorite beverage. If this passes, it could lead other states to follow along. However, actually enforcing this would be another story.

  11. Looks like you opened a GOOD can of worms, Jeff... ;-}

    This may pass and we all can get an honest pint!

    Oh... BTW, Jeff... Some pub owners might want to hunt you down like a dog. Better take a low profile... :-O

    It all part of politics! You're gonna piss some people off to please others.

  12. Great work Jeff. Glad to see this building momentum. Hope you get credit where it is due on this, I'll be pissed if the "honest pint" stickers that they put on pub windows have some Oregon representative's face on it.

  13. So awesome. Good work, Jeff. I know you are reluctant that it be made law, but as I understand it, it already IS the law, but not currently enforced by the weights and measures folks. This cements it.

  14. "that the legislature took note of it at all is a testament to the enthusiasm of Oregon beer drinkers."

    They are just making sure we get our $$ worth if the tax passes and pints go up by a dollar.... Its a bit ironic the legislature is considering something very cool and very detrimental to the beer community at the same time.

    Seriously though, congrats Jeff. Its very cool to see an idea from your blog spiral into something before the legislature.

    I think you absolutely should continue your project. Perhaps if the bill falls slightly short on the marked glassware front, your project could offer 2 levels of certification, same as the Oregon bill and then another for someplace that uses all marked glassware.

  15. Be careful of what you wish for. This could pass along with an increase in the beer tax. Wouldn't that be ironic.

  16. I don't think etching on glassware is expensive. A quick look on the internets suggests perhaps 10% more for etched glassware. The expense would be in forcing pubs to convert all at once, and that would be easily remedied by allowing a phase in.

    I think it is cheaper than inspectors running about.

  17. Jeff,

    From your excerpts, I would read this to be voluntary on the part of the pub owner. If this is the case, do you think many establishments would submit to the process?

    Maybe on balance that would represent the best of both worlds.

  18. Nice work, Jeff. Hopefully this will keep the defensive hate mail from cheater pint serving pubs from reaching my inbox. Peace!