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What is a Pint?

What is a pint?


The word pint has long been misused in the world of beer. We often hear beer drinkers talking about ‘going out for a pint’ or ‘I’ll have a pint of beer.’ However, in this modern world of beer drinking, it’s incumbent on both the brewer and the hospitality provider to truly understand the ramifications of the word ‘pint’.

Measurement Canada is a national agency that protects the interests of consumers and ensures that we, as beer drinkers, get what is advertised and/or paid for. This means, that if you are serving a pint of beer, you must deliver 20 fluid ounces of beer (not counting the head or foam). So, a normal pint glass holds 20 ounces to the brim which means you are serving a beer with no foam which is largely unprofitable and unappetizing. In addition, this act of pouring without foam creates excessive bloating and thereby reduces further sales. The proper amount of foam on a beer is approximately 2 fluid ounces at the top.

There is also a massive difference between an Imperial (Canadian) pint and a U.S pint.  1 American ounce is 1.04 Imperial ounces. The reason this is critical to understand is to determine the proper volume in a glass. If the glass originates in the U.S, then American measure apply. The chart below will help to calculate the actual ounces in a glass.

Glass size

U.S ounces (brim)

Imperial ounces (brim)

Metric (brim)

Pour Line         (2 oz. foam)

Metric (pour)

American Pint

16 ounces

16.7 ounces

473 ml

14.7 ounces

435 ml

Canadian Pint

19.2 ounces

20 ounces

545.5 ml

18 ounces

511 ml


In order to actually serve a ‘pint’ of beer, you will need to order a 22-ounce glass. This, when poured perfectly, will yield 20 fluid ounces of beer.

When calculating total profit in a glass of beer, it’s also good to know that 1 ounce of foam collapses into .25 ounces of beer. Therefore, a perfectly poured glass of beer in a 20 oz. glass should actually be 18.5 ounces of beer. Likewise, a 22 ounce glass should actually only contain 20.5 ounces of beer.

So is conclusion, A Pint is an actual imperial measure in Canada that measures 20 fluid ounces. It is not a bottle of beer, a glass of beer or any other possible amount of beer other than 20 ounces.


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