Boozers in Seoul getting bamboozled

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Boozers in Seoul getting bamboozled

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Drinkers who felt like their draft beers were going down too quickly at their end-of-year party may have been more perceptive than they realized, as some pubs in Seoul were found to be over-changing customers by shorting their measures.

The Korea Consumer Agency examined draft beers poured from 30 pubs located near crowded subway stations such as Gangnam and Hongdae, and found that they all under-filled their glasses. The worst offender did so by an average of 23 percent and the most honest by a median of 13 percent.

Consumers who order a 500-cubic-centimeter glass of draft beer only get 435 cc on average, or 87 percent of what they pay for, while those who order a 2,000 cc pitcher get 1,544 cc. Drinkers who pay for 3,000 cc only receive 2,309 cc on average, the KCA said.

Some 300,000 kiloliters (79.3 million gallons) of draft beer were sold to retailers in Korea in 2011, making up 16.3 percent of their total beer purchases. Consuming draft beer with fried chicken is so popular in Korea that locals have even coined a word for it: chi-maek (maekju is the Korean word for beer).

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[사진= JTBC영상 캡처]

“There was a big discrepancy between all the bars,” the consumer agency said in a release. “We found that some of them were even shorting customers by 460 cc on 3,000 cc pitchers.”

However, the agency said the pubs were not solely at fault as mugs and pitchers that were provided by local brewers like OB and Hite Jinro for free are designed in such a way that they cannot contain as much liquid as they appear to.

The KCA said this did not apply to 500 cc mugs, but that 2,000 cc and 3,000 cc pitchers had respective capacities of 1,700cc and 2,700 cc even without there being any head, or froth, on the beer.

The beer makers said that from this year they will change the pitchers to correct the situation and also add capacity meters showing how much beer they currently contain, for example at 100 cc gradations.

Until that happens, “retailers [bars and pubs] should use beer mugs or pitchers with capacity meters and offer revised menus showing exactly how much beer they are getting,” the KCA said in a statement.

“Instead of marking 500 cc, 2000 cc or 3000 cc on their menus, they should write 450 cc, 1,500 cc or 2,500 cc to keep consumers accurately informed.”

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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