Pint-Sized Wine Bottles for the UK

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The BBC has an article describing a forthcoming change in the UK’s regulations regarding the size of wine bottles post-Brexit. The government has announced that still and sparkling wines will be available in pint-sized (568ml) bottles. This change, resulting from the departure from EU laws, is aimed at offering more variety to consumers. Previously, EU regulations required that imperial measurements be displayed alongside metric ones, but they couldn’t be more prominent. This led to the infamous case of the “metric martyrs,” traders who faced legal action for selling goods in imperial units only.

The new legislation, to be introduced in the new year, will not only allow the sale of pint-sized wine bottles in various venues but also permit still wine to be sold in 200ml containers, which could boost the canned wine market. Additionally, sparkling wines will be available in 500ml bottles, a size between the standard full and half sizes. This change marks a return to a preference that existed before the UK joined the European Common Market in 1973, when pint-sized champagne bottles, reportedly favoured by Winston Churchill, were common.

This decision to reintroduce pint-sized wine bottles can be seen as a consequence of Brexit. It reflects an attempt to capitalise on the perceived benefits of Brexit, as stated by the then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who regarded imperial measurements as an ‘ancient liberty’.

In practical terms, I think it’s unlikely that many producers will establish unique bottling processes exclusively for the UK market. Where such a change does occur, I suspect it might be used to deceive consumers into paying similar prices for smaller quantities.