Monday, June 9, 2008

Beeronomics: Honest Pint Project in the Wall Street Journal

Over the weekend the Wall Street Journal reported on the Honest Pint Project. Unfortunately for all of humanity, the reporter, with whom I spoke, did not choose to discuss my erudite discussion of the economics of information but nonetheless she did manage to write a pretty interesting article about the economics of the craft beer industry and incorporate the Honest Pint into it.

The best part of the article, however, was this picture which shows the problem of asymmetric information. Oh yea, and it did do a good job of describing Jeff slinking off into the gents with a pint glass and measuring cup tucked under his shirt. If not for martyrs like Jeff, where would we be?

Also a note: I went to the Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) on SE Powell in Portland last week and had some very good beer and exceptional service (the very friendly server brought me a number of free tasters) . I admit to liking but not loving Brewmaster Christian Ettinger's beers - they have an astringent quality that I find displeasing, an antiseptic bite that lingers on the tongue - but my companion did have one truly transcendent beer, the Baltic Porter. The pub itself is fantastic, the service wonderful, the beer very good and the Baltic Porter is out of this world. But this is not what I wanted to say. What I wanted to say is that HUB uses a unique style of glassware that has on it, clearly marked, a 14oz line (well below the rim). HUB also prices its beer, very clearly, as 16.5oz. Good for them - an honest, well, pint and change. The point is that they are clear about what they are serving and charging for.

I have one quibble, however, and that is 16.5 ounces must be right to the rim of the glass. Meaning that with head, the beer will not really be 16.5 ounces. The 14oz line is clearly there for serving purposes, allowing for the head to rise above. Why not just use that?

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