It's true: certain branded glassware does make a difference

07 September, 2007

Q So many beers these days seem to come with their own bespoke glassware. Is this a pure marketing gimmick or should I consider offering branded glasses with specific beers?

A There is no doubt that marketing departments are capitalising on the idea of particular glasses for individual beers, and in the on-trade it is regarded by suppliers as a useful way of advertising what beer is in the glass. But it is equally true that glasses can have a profound effect on the way a beer tastes.

Straight tumblers or pint glasses do not channel the aromas of a beer in the same way as a glass with more of a tulip profile. This is easily put to the test - pour a small quantity of an unremarkable beer into a standard half-pint glass and then do the same with an average wine glass. The aromas from the sample in the wine glass are likely to be much more amplified.

The Belgians have understood this for years and tend to drink their - admittedly more alcoholic - brews in small quantities, from specially designed glasses. Meanwhile Brits have been slugging back their beer from tankards and pint glasses.

Some stores report a brisk trade in branded glasses and a healthy mark-up too. Most suppliers will be happy to let you have some either free of charge or at a modest price. You can then decide whether to use them in a promotion or sell them separately.

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