This week saw the release of some research results that are both interesting and bloody pointless. Some bunch of pointyheads decided, for some reason, to see if the shape of a glass altered the rate at which people drink. They got some pint glasses, some with straight sides, and some curved. They then measured how long people took to drink a pint.

Let me say now I never get asked to take part in trials like this. I get buttonholed in my local Co-op and get asked about how good or bad it is. I don’t get free beer. I don’t even get a free pen. But somebody did get free beer, and the results came in. Apparently people drink more slowly out of a straight glass than out of a curved one.

So far so good. It’s quite interesting, that. However when you get to the small print, you begin to wonder why they published at all. Mean time to neck a pint from a straight was just about 11 minutes, give or take. For a curved glass, mean time was about 9½ minutes. Hardly a dramatic difference is it? Certainly not sufficient for the team to state that straight glasses could help people avoid binge drinking. Let’s face it, if you are on a deather, the shape of the glass is immaterial. A flower vase will do in extremis. Plus if you’re on a deather you’ll be speeding up with every passing hour, at least until you feel too full to move.

I’m also not sure the results are correct anyway. I have a friend who routinely drinks out of a straight glass. He can do a pint in about 10 seconds, let alone 10 minutes. Then you have the phenomenon of a bloke going in the pub when he’s officially going to the shops, so can’t hang about too long before his partner smells a rat. They’re pretty niftyshifty too. Incidentally, the world record for a pint is .45 seconds. And back in 2003, some nutjob drank 7.75 pints (proper pints, not those soppy American pints) in five minutes. I don’t suppose the drinker gave a rat’s about the shape of the glass.

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