Weights & Measures (page 2)


Many spirits are measured via optics and the correct use of them is vital. Though we do not have to measure spirits other than those stated above, we in many cases choose to do so. When using Optics it is vital that you check that the Optic is full before you use it, change empty bottles as you go.

It is also vital that if a double is being served that you wait long enough for the Optic to refill before you attempt to pour the second measure.  Always wait for the bubbles that occur in the bottle to stop forming before using the Optic.

If you offer “house doubles” then your Optics should be to the correct measure so a single operation will produce the correct measure.

There are two types of Optic used in most pubs, the finger operated and the old style push up Optic both are legal to use provided that the rim of the glass does not come into contact with the Optic.

Thimble measures or “jiggers”

You may also have a selection of thimble measures (sometimes known as jiggers) and these should always be used when serving a customer with the four controlled spirits; Whisky, Gin, Vodka and Rum plus all or other individual spirits and liquors. They come in various sizes, some are double-ended with one end the single measure and the other a double measure.

When using these measures a full measure is achieved when the measure is filled to the rim.  Care should be taken when pouring the measure into a glass to ensure that the customer receives the full measure.

Plastic or glass shot glasses may be used for all shots and spirits except the four controlled spirits; Whisky, Gin, Vodka and Rum.  Again a full measure is to the rim. I would always recommend using a thimble measure as shot glasses often hold more than a single measure, which if brim-full could adversely affect your stock and profits.


Some wine glasses have a line showing the correct measure; if these are used then fill the glass to the line only; ensure that the wine reaches the line. Being below or above the line is an incorrect measure.

If the wine glass does not have a line then a thimble measures should be used.

By law you must offer wines for sale in the smaller size of 125ml, however, you may also offer wine as 175ml, 250ml and a whole 750ml bottle.

Packaged products

If a customer orders a pre-packaged product then the size of the packaged product should match the size stated on the price list and the customer should receive the entire contents of the packaged product.

This relates to Ready to Drink (RTD) products (such as alcopops), bottled beers lagers and ciders, single serve wine etc. If a glass is requested then in these circumstance a Government Stamped glass is not required with these products.

Customer Advice

When offering a product to a customer the smallest size measure should always be offered first.

If you are asked by a customer how much alcohol then can drink and still drive legally I believe your reply must always be none.  Zero intake is the only safe limit.

No customer should be allowed more than a double measure in a single drink and the sale of so called “dirty pints” is not allowed – a dirty pint is when a glass is filled with a large selection of shots and spirits – often the customer is then encourage to down the whole lot in one go.

No member of staff should ever pour alcohol directly into any customer’s mouth, it is illegal to do so.

Tap water is free for all customers and should be provided up on request it is a legal requirement to do so.

Penalties for failing to supply the correct measure.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is £2,000 for failing to notify customers of the size of measure used and £5,000 for failing to use the correct size of measure.

Other considerations…

From buyingapub.com this advice:

“News that a nightclub has recently been fined £10,000 (plus over £6,000 costs and the owner having to serve 250 hours community service) for selling vodka unfit for human consumption when the liquid tested positive for denatured alcohol emphasises the need for operators to have in place robust due diligence systems to avoid any possible breach of the Weights & Measures legislation.

This should extend to:

  • Having systems in place to ensure that products sourced from an ‘unusual’ or new supplier are properly duty paid;
  • Having systems in place to ensure that products are not counterfeit and are indeed what they are billed to be;
  • Having systems in place to ensure that products cannot be contaminated or diluted on site and having a system of periodic checks in place to see if they have been;
  • Being alert to the possibility of alcohol evaporation from spirits with open top pourers and having systems in place to ensure that this is avoided;
  • Having the mandatory choice of smaller measures available together with the required advertising; and
  • Ensuring that the business is aware of the law and the requirements which are relevant to them. All the activities of the business which may cause a breach of the law should be identified controlled and checked by a system of working.

With regards procedures employed we would highlight that the operator should ensure that all systems are being followed correctly. The systems should also include provision for proposing and carrying out effective remedial action where things are found to be wrong. Regular reviews of the operation of the system should also take place with amendments made if necessary to ensure that the systems are appropriate. Further, records should be kept of procedures followed and checks carried out to demonstrate that the system is operating correctly.

We would point out that the size of the operation is also a factor to be taken into account when considering systems which must be appropriate to the size of the business and where it sits in the supply chain.”

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