History Repeats Itself: Higher Prices, Smaller Glasses

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal ran this article about rising beer prices and the "smaller pint" (translation: instead of raising prices, many bar owners are pouring shorter glasses.)

Jeff Alworth initially raised the issue at his blog, where he has also launched the "Honest Pint Project." (He has a post about this today. Then use his index for the original post. The HPP links are on the right side of his page.)

Anyway, today while working, which in my case means reading newspapers written a century ago, I ran across an article that appeared in the New York Times in October 1907. The short piece informed readers that because of rising prices for barley and hops, St. Louis brewers would raise the price of a barrel of beer from six dollars to seven. In response, retailers (which, back then, mostly meant saloon owners) announced that they would "reduce the size of the glass without raising the price 'per glass.'" (*1) Translation: less beer for the same money.

So: ain't nuthin' new under the sun.


*1: Source: "Beer Takes A Jump," New York Times, October 10, 1907, p. 14.