The shape of your glass affects how quickly you drinkGulping down your beer at the speed of light? Your rush might have to do with how your glass is shaped.

A new study from the University of Bristol claims that drinking from curved glassware hastens your drinking. Over the course of two weekends, three pubs reported that customers sipping out of straight glasses consumed less booze than those drinking out of curved glasses. Of course, the study is preliminary, but it is fascinating. It’s possible that curved glasses give the illusion of more beer being available, thereby giving you less incentive to ration out your remaining drink.

Portion awareness also plays a roll in how quickly you drink. 160 participants (80 men and 80 women) with no history of alcohol abuse were split into two groups at random. One group was given beer in glasses with marked volume measurements of 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4. The other group received beer in unmarked glasses. Excluding “participants with abnormally slow drinking times” from consideration, the data showed that those with marked glasses consumed their beer in 10.3 minutes on average, while the non-marked group finished their round at a mean of 9.1 minutes.

This is the same line of thinking that makes us eat less when we’re served food on smaller plates. Putting food on small plates as opposed to big plates makes the food look more plentiful, so when we reach for the small plates we’re more aware of just how much we’re consuming. Similarly, having markers on glasses pointing out how much beer we’re drinking makes us recognize our consumption, and therefore we’re more likely to slow our drinking roll.

Alcohol brands using various glass shapes to manipulate the appearance of how much booze is available is nothing new, but you can skip the games and figure out the amount you’re drinking easily. For draught beers, know that most serving glasses are 16 ounces – regardless of shape. For canned and bottled beers, the volume is listed on the product. Even if your bar pours your booze in a fancy glass, you can always ask to see the bottle or can (the volume is also often listed on the beer menu). If you know what you’re being served, you can pace yourself appropriately.

h/t Medical Xpress

Header image via Flickr / Didriks