Myth: As from 1 October 1995 it will be a criminal offence for a pub to sell mixed drinks such as shandy in a pint.
(The Publican, 21.11.94, Sunday Telegraph, 27.11.94)
Response: Not true. Almost every country in the developed world has adopted the International System of unit measurements (the so-called “metric system”). In 1970 Member States’ national systems were hamionised and with the accession of the UK and Ireland in 1973 a period was granted so that a smooth transition could be made. As it happens the UK was already carrying out its metrification programme at the time. Under Community law (89/617/EEC) the UK’s transition period ends on 31 December 1994, after which the UK needs to have switched over from imperial units. However the Government successfully sought a derogation for the use of the unit “pint” when serving draught beer and draught cider in pubs.
Shandy, then, will technically be allowed to be sold in a pint, but not be called a pint. However UK authorities have said they will offer advice on the rules rather than interpreting them very strictly. This is a decision for the relevant British authorities, just as it would be if they were to declare shandy sold in a pint a criminal offence.