The bane of every beer nerd’s existence and possibly yours too. Some take short pours more personally than others – I know some who carry a measuring cup with them to make sure they’re receiving the correct portion every time. I might not go that far, but it’s something that angers me quite a bit. On the scale of anger, it sits somewhere between people that use the word “like” as a comma in their sentence and people that rush into elevators as I’m trying to exit.
Short Pours are nothing new in the industry. In fact, I have worked for a few bars in my time with greasy haired bar managers who purposely short pour to squeeze every last cent out of their kegs. The good thing is that this particular travesty is receiving a lot more attention in the past few years. You’ve probably read about it in the news or various posts from beer associations such as CAMRA. This particular tirade is inspired by an experience I grimaced through last weekend. It’s fired up enough angst in me to rant about it for roughly 700 – 800 words. We will see where I actually end up in a minute.
I was sitting down for a quick drink and charcuterie board (who doesn’t love all that meat and cheese) with my wife when I noticed my drink had a larger than normal amount of head on it. Now, there are certain situations that I would welcome a large amount of head, but this was not the case here. I ask/told the server that the pour looked a little light, to which she quickly replied: “Nope, the glasses are just oversized”. Not wanting to create an issue that would very likely ruin an otherwise perfect day, I let it slide for the sake of romance. After all, it’s a few milliliters at the end of the day and I wasn’t about to let a measly short pour get to me. I chose to do the polite thing: wait a day, post about it on social media… and leave a bad yelp review.
This whole experience got me to thinking – what would a less passive-aggressive and more socially adjusted person do? What is the proper way to mention a short pour to your server? What do you do if their response is unsatisfactory? Instead of spending hours on the internet looking for what to do, I’ve compiled all that information here so you don’t have to. Side note – If you want to do the research yourself and google”what to do if you’re short poured”, don’t click the third link that comes up. The “Complete guide to Building Log homes” is not the 364 pages of excitement you expect it to be. Back on tpoic, here’s the five steps to dealing with a short pour:
Step 1 – Inform
Tell your server politely that you read my blog post about short pours and that you are now an expert. Since they have wronged you and your family’s name, your whole meal should be comped.
Step 2 – Say it Louder
Say exactly what you said in step one. This time say it louder so people around you can hear you and doubt the validity of their own drink size. Make sure you include a tone of arrogance in your voice here. It really helps the situation.
Step 3 – Manager
Ask to speak to the manager and repeat exactly what you told the server before. Your voice should be at a low yell at this point. You’ll want to leave some extra volume for your exit.
Step 4 – Exit
Storm out of the place in a frenzied-like state. Tell them that they have no idea who they are dealing with and that you will never return- even if they are the last restaurant on Earth.
Step 5 – Review
Leave a bad Yelp review. It’s very satisfying and you don’t have to hear their classy and on point rebuttal.
Talk to them, you dummy! A server is a person, not an enemy. Sometimes people are busy and they make mistakes; even my parent who made perfect me – made my younger brother. In my experience, if you raise the issue like a normal human being, other normal human beings will sympathize. I guarantee that they would much rather fill your glass than spending time arguing with you about it. I didn’t do this I got one of those looks from my wife and decided the better course of action was to let it go. This has only really happened to me a handful of times and every time before this past weekend, my server apologized and promptly topped off my pours.
Sometimes, however, you do run into unruly staff who just don’t give a shit. If this is the case, talk to the manager. The manager should be well versed in serving sizes and the regulations that govern them. Any good manager will be on top of this and will appreciate the feedback. In my case, the owner got back to me on social media and took the opportunity to advise his staff of the proper portions. He even gave me my next drink free! Well played manager!
If you get nowhere with this route though, there are a few resources you can check out on how to deal with this. Click these links to learn more:
CAMRA Vancouver’s #FUSS (Fess up to serving sizes) – the guidelines and initiative is outlined on their website
Measurement Canada – Yes there’s a bunch of nerds that have your back and if you feel that you have been fundamentally wronged by a short pour and you want the government to step in.