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Great glassware is vital to creating the right impression

On 06/08/13 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

Diversity is an embedded principle when it comes to beer and, as a result, beer styles really do come in all shapes and sizes. Differences in alcohol strength; various combinations of ingredients and different degrees of carbonation are some of the variables that need to be accounted for when choosing the perfect glass. Glassware that is designed to enhance the main characteristics associated with aroma and flavour across these vastly different styles, and maintain head, can be a real plus!

For beers that have particular characteristics associated with aroma or flavour, the right type of glassware can be vital to the overall experience. Tulip or thistle glasses have a more bulbous central section which is then constricted by the taper of the glass that flares out to allow the head to collect. Ideally, the main body of the beer is held beneath the taper. The curvature concentrates bubbles in a smaller area so that you retain them for longer as you drink. This traps aroma and flavour compounds within the main body of the beer.

Of course, traditional, straight sided, pint glasses are also designed to work well with many cask beers which are commonly less carbonated than keg or bottle beers and where typically no one particular characteristic dominates. These beers are often produced with a balance between malt, hops, fruit flavours and aromas.

For darker, stronger, more indulgent beers smaller glassware is a good option, offsetting their heavier, full bodied flavour and character. Such beers make a unique accompaniment for dessert, where intense flavours and smaller volumes are often most suitable. However, smaller glassware can also encourage customers not only to interact with beer in a different way but also to experiment with new beer styles – many pubs now offer ‘beer flights’ (think beer-based tapas), to adventurous consumers!

For all beers, sparkling clean glassware is essential and, of course, branded glassware creates a strong visual impression which can build customer loyalty - a glass shape that is in tune with the brand image of the beer can be a powerful tool. However, all glassware - whether pint, half-pint - and even third and two-third pints - must be accurate and correctly marked, to ensure that weights-and-measures requirements are met.


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