Speed Drinking: How Alcohol Glass Shape Makes Us Drink Faster

If you choose to drink alcohol, you may have noticed that people use many methods to help them pace their drinking to avoid the nastier side of having too much, too quickly: The hangovers, the poor decisions, the embarrassing behavior, being more drunk than intended, or even vomiting. Yuck.

But sometimes how quickly we drink is influenced by things that we may not even consider. Recently researchers tried to determine if the shape of the glass has any influence on the speed at which people drink beer. The findings? Yes, the shape of the glass plays a role.

Researchers are not entirely sure why this is the case, but one hypothesis is that a more curved glass impairs your ability accurately judge where “half-full” is, and thus are less able to accurately judge the pace at which you are drinking. This may lead to someone having drinks more quickly than they realize.

So what does this mean for you? It means that keeping track of how much you drank and how quickly you drank it is harder from a curved glass, and thus it’s harder to make sure you are making good decisions about your drinking. When drinking from a curved glass, keep in mind that you may drink faster than normal, so leave more time between drinks to let your body process the alcohol.

Below is a list of tips that can be helpful to people who want to avoid the negative consequences of having too much, too fast. It’s important to find a method that works well for you, and helps you stay in control of how much alcohol you consume in a night!

  • Set a maximum number of drinks in a night
  • Avoid shots
  • Avoid drinking games
  • Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Hold a drink in your hand (non-alcoholic or alcoholic), to avoid being offered more drinks
  • Put extra ice in your drink
  • Know how many standard drinks you are consuming (Hint: 12-ounce beer=1oz shot=4oz serving of wine)
  • Don’t drink something if you don’t know how much alcohol it contains
  • Set a maximum number of drinks per hour
  • Stop drinking at a predetermined time
  • Be aware of how you feel BEFORE making the decision about another drink
  • Set a maximum number of drinks for the night, and have a friend help you stick to that goal

Again, it’s important to figure out what works best for you, to make sure that you stay safe and healthy!

If you are concerned about your or a friend’s drinking or drug use, check out the services available at UNC Student Wellness, like Tar Heel BASICS. Also, Counseling and Psychological Services is always a great (free!) resource for UNC students.

As always, take care of yourselves!

One thought on “Speed Drinking: How Alcohol Glass Shape Makes Us Drink Faster

  1. Natalie Rich February 6, 2013 / 12:17 am

    Great post, Michael! This is really interesting research and very interesting for those of use who are trying to keep track of drinks.


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