Bottoms Up! How the Shape of Your Beer Glass May Make You Drink More

By Sophie Bushwick | September 4, 2012 9:30 am

beer glasses

The shape of your beer glass affects your grip, of course. But it also affects the way that the bubbles in the liquid behave. And now it turns out that beer glass shape can even influence how fast you down your alcoholic beverage.

To see how glass shape affected drinking speed, 160 self-described social drinkers watched a nature documentary while they consumed refreshments from glasses with either straight edges or curved ones. The glasses with curved edges were larger at the top than the bottom, so they held a greater volume in the top half. And researchers found that when drinking beer from these glasses, subjects finished 60 percent faster than drinkers who used straight-sided glasses.

The researchers surmise that while drinking alcohol, people pace themselves based on when they reach the halfway point of a glass. (When participants drank soda instead of beer, the shape of the glass had no significant effect on drinking speed.) But drinkers failed to accurately estimate the halfway point on curved-edge drinking glasses, and so they slurped up a greater quantity of alcohol faster.

In support of the halfway-point theory, participants who only received half a glass of lager seemed immune to the effect of the glass’s shape, presumably because they did not rely on the glass’s halfway point to judge how much alcohol they had consumed. Or maybe they just wanted to nurse their tiny beers for as long as possible.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: What’s Inside Your Brain?
  • JJ

    What about this glass shape then? What would the theory predict?

    • Sabrina Rice

      I think they’re saying people drank more when the glass was top heavy because they incorrectly gauged where the halfway point was. So as far as beer glasses go they said the shape does have an effect on the amount the participants drank.

  • Stephen

    The study addressed the case of half-empty glasses, but not half-full glasses. Perhaps further grants might help clarify if there is a significant difference in the rate of consumption between those cases.

  • Blade Avuari

    Can you explain the difference between the two? I don’t understand what this means.


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