Straight or jug?

By the time you read this it should be fairly clear which party performed best in the European parliament elections. We’ll know whether the Conservatives will be able to “get stuck in” and change the EU to Britain’s advantage, or if Labour will have the chance to reverse its “deep discontent about the way the country is run”. Perhaps the Lib Dems will have been validated for their pro-EU stance, or UKIP’s anti-Europe stand might have won the day…

Such musings about the election garnered little interest in my local pub; the price of beer and quality of food in nearby eateries are more popular topics of conversation. But one burning question is asked of every beer drinker when they first order a pint: “Straight or jug?”

I’ve always been a straight man myself, in more ways than one. I prefer to drink beer from a glass without a handle. Others opt for the traditional dimpled glass ‘jug’, or even an ancient, personalised pewter tankard. For some, the choice is purely one of aesthetics; others claim holding the handle of a jug keeps the beer cooler, while bar staff tend to prefer straight glasses because they stack more easily.

Many years ago, most pubs mainly used the handled version. Straight glasses took off in the seventies, fueled by the boom in Continental lager drinking. The straight trend then won over and in many town pubs (not country backwaters like ours) the jug almost died out, until in 2001 the last factory to make them, Ravenshead Glass in St Helens, closed down.

Now, though, dimpled jugs are making a comeback, thanks to ‘hipsters’ in cities drinking ‘craft’ beer and seeking out pubs with jugs because they look ‘more traditional’. Ironically, the glasses they’re drinking from have probably all been imported – from the Continent.

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