The holiday season is upon us. A time to visit with family and friends, eat, share stories, decorate, and of course, drink. Let’s be honest. Alcohol consumption is fun. But with every intoxicated euphoric high comes the devastating realistic low. Medical professionals cite that 4% of the global burden of disease can be attributed to alcohol abuse.
Researchers have examined different factors to understand how to control or diminish alcohol consumption. They have studied pricing, drinking age, and even the hours that alcohol can be purchased. But these scientists are digging deeper. They were curious how the shape of your beer glass could affect your drinking. Yes, the shape of your glass influences how much you drink.
It is a volume issue. Can you eyeball three glasses of different shapes and correctly identify which one has the greatest volume or if the volumes are equal? More importantly, can you look at those same three glasses and accurately determine the midpoint, so you can safely say when you have consumed half of the beverage? Probably not.
Here is how the scientists went about addressing those questions: They recruited 160 participants (half men and half women) for the study. The participants received a series of 60 images showing various volumes of liquid in two glasses of equal volume (12 oz.) side by side. One glass had straight sides. The second glass was a curved flute. Both glasses were clear and lacked markings. The participants had to identify the photograph that represented each half full glass. Then the participants got to drink. Seriously, how do you get to join these studies?
The participants were recorded while quaffing 6 or 12 ounces of either a 4% alcoholic beverage or a soft drink (matched for carbonation). Both beverages were served chilled to perfection. Each participant was told to consume the entire beverage at their own pace while watching a nature documentary. After consuming the beverage, each participant had four minutes to complete a worksheet task.
The researchers found that the size of the glass did not affect the time it took for the participants to consume the soft drink, with an average time of six minutes to drink the entire beverage. Interestingly, participants took an average 12 minutes to drink the alcoholic beverage out of the straight-sided glass, but consumed the same amount in a little more than half the time from the curved glass. The researchers confirm that shape does affect a person’s ability to judge the volume of a beverage consumed. They suggest future studies should recreate the study under more naturalistic settings and with a wider variety of alcoholic beverages.
Lesson to be learned from this study: For a rocking party, serve your beverages in the curvy glasses and let the drunk times roll.