FUSS (Fess Up to Serving Sizes) is a CAMRA BC advocacy and education campaign, which is addressing issues related to draft beer serving sizes.
It is a legal requirement in BC that a licensee must make available to customers a complete serving size/price list for every alcoholic beverage they offer. This list is not optional, as per the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) which, in their Guide for Licensees in B.C. (liquor primary/food primary), states, “you (licensee) must have a list available showing the types of liquor available, the size of each drink you sell and its price. You (licensee) may post the price list as a printed list or on a board, or it can be available at all tables. At a minimum, it must be available to customers on request.”
This campaign is not about getting licensees to serve specific serving sizes – i.e. pints instead of sleeves – it is primarily focused on getting licensees to declare exactly what the actual serving size of their draft beer serving is. By doing so the licensee allows the consumer to make an informed choice before ordering. If #FUSS is successful the misrepresentation of serving sizes, whether intentional or not, will be eliminated.
It is a fact that the majority of licensees do not comply with this law and the LCLB do not enforce this law, leaving the consumer at a disadvantage by not knowing what they are in fact ordering and paying for in advance. This is a basic consumer right.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
1 – Public Safety – By declaring exactly what amount of draft beer is being served, the licensee allows the consumer to accurately gauge how much alcohol they are ingesting. In today’s world of stronger beers and the strict drinking & driving restrictions, it is important for consumers to know exactly how much alcohol they are consuming.
It is equally important for servers to know how much alcohol they are delivering to their customers so they can more easily judge when their customers are approaching the point of being over-served before the customer actually reaches the point of intoxication. Many servers, like customers, have no real idea how much draft beer they are serving without serving sizes being declared by licensees.
2- Consumers’ Rights – It is a basic consumer right to be informed about a product, if they so desire, ahead of purchasing that product so that an informed decision can be made. This right extends to those purchasing draft beer. By knowing exactly what serving size they will receive for the price consumers can judge for themselves if they are getting value for their money and draft beer serving sizes will not be misrepresented as often happens now – i.e. seeing a “pint” being advertised on a menu when actually a much smaller measure is being offered.
As well, there is no standardized measure for a “sleeve” which is a measure created by the hospitality industry. Sleeve glasses come in various sizes with all the glassware looking similar. How can a consumer know whether they are receiving a 341ml (12oz) or a 454ml (16oz) sleeve, a difference of 25% volume, if the actual volume, in ml/oz is not declared and not shown on the actual glass?
CAMRA VANCOUVER’S ACTION PLAN
1- CAMRA Vancouver wrote letters to Licensees in the craft beer community explaining their legal obligation to provide serving size lists and encouraged their support of the FUSS Campaign in order to set the “Gold Standard” in the hospitality industry. Many of our Corporate Members/Supporters have enthusiastically complied and placed their serving sizes on their menus although others prefer to obfuscate the information and perpetuate the problem.
2- Prompt the LCLB to Act – CAMRA Vancouver is actively pursuing the LCLB to enforce their own law in hopes that they will prompt licensees to comply and provide serving size lists to consumers and eradicate misrepresentation of serving sizes.
3- Media Coverage – CAMRA Vancouver has been actively engaging with local media to highlight this important issue and has been successful in getting many stories, blog posts and on-line video interviews out there to spread the word and educate the public.
4- Education – By highlighting this issue, we believe we are providing essential education to both the hospitality industry and the public at large. Part of our mandate is to educate about the responsible consumption of craft beer and knowing what you are consuming is a large part of making responsible decisions in regards to consuming alcohol.
5 – Marked Glassware – One way to help the consumer know how much is in the glass is the introduction of marked glassware, something that is already enacted into law in many other countries and jurisdictions. A line along with the volume in millilitres would remove any mystery around the serving size, it would also ensure that customers were not under-served and that servers weren’t over-serving.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Let the LCLB know that it is not acceptable for licensees to disregard this law. Email: douglas.s.scott
Measurement Canada wants to know if you’re being underserved
Tweet about it
Take a photo (or video) of your less-than-a-20oz-pint next to the sign that says “pint” and email or tweet it to @camravancouver along with the hashtags #FUSS and #servingitwrong and we’ll spread the word.