Companies have helped display the crown symbol on pint glasses
Consultation launched on removing EU ban on imperial measures, benefiting businesses with greater choice when serving customers
Plans will restore ‘common sense’ to the rule book and ditch heavy-handed EU rules
Post-Brexit plans to put the Crown symbol back on pint glasses and lift the EU ban on imperial measures were announced today (Friday June 3).
In honor of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, new government guidance released today will help businesses place the Crown symbol on pint glasses.
As early as 1698, British pint glasses intended for measuring and serving beer were marked with a crown stamp as a declaration that the glass, when filled to the brim or to a measuring line, accurately measured a pint of beer. The Crown stamp gave customers the assurance that they were not being sold a small measure of beer. But the symbol was replaced by the EU-wide “CE” mark in 2006 to comply with EU rules in the UK.
Alongside guidance on the crown symbol, a consultation was released today on how to implement a change to the Weights and Measures Act, so that buyers and businesses have greater choice about how they buy and sell products.
The consultation will help the government consider, for example, allowing vegetables to be sold in pounds only, or in pounds with a lower metric equivalent, if businesses so wish. This will help inform the government’s plans to legislate to give businesses greater choice in the units they use. There is no intention to force companies to change their existing practices and therefore this will not result in additional costs for companies.
Today’s announcement is not just about pounds and ounces, but also where UK laws are made. The “metric martyrs” have been a totemic case in establishing the supremacy of EU law. Now that we have left the EU, the UK can make decisions in the best interest of UK businesses and consumers.
Business Minister Paul Scully said:
On this Platinum Jubilee weekend, we raise a toast to the health and service of Her Majesty The Queen to this country. It’s a fitting tribute that we are now helping companies restore the crown symbol to pint glasses.
While we think of our fruits and vegetables by the kilo, the legacy of EU rules means that we must legally sell them by the kilo. Our consultation today will help stores serve customers the way they want.
UK law currently requires metric units to be used, as a primary indication, for all trade purposes with only limited exceptions, reflecting the rules of our time in the EU. Currently, imperial units are only allowed to be used on their own in a small number of cases, such as draft beer and cider sales. Now that we have left the EU, the UK can act in the best interest of its businesses and its consumers.
Notes to editors:
UK law currently requires metric units to be used for all commercial purposes with only limited exceptions. Our legal framework reflects the requirements imposed on the UK as part of its EU membership by the requirements set out in EU Directive 80/181/EC (as amended) which relates to units of measurement.
The government announced its intention to review the ban on the use of Imperial units for sale and marking on September 16, 2021, as part of a wider announcement of a series of regulatory reforms taking advantage of Brexit. It also responds to a recommendation made by the Independent Task Force on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform. The task force’s report to the government published on June 16, 2021 recommended that the government amend the Weights and Measures Act 1985 to allow traders to use imperial measurements without metric equivalents.
The consultation on the measures will take place over 12 weeks and various stakeholders are invited to contribute, including businesses, trade associations, law enforcement agencies and consumer organisations.
For centuries, British pint glasses intended for measuring and serving beer have been marked with a crown stamp as a declaration that the glass accurately measured a pint. In 2006, the crown seal was replaced by the CE mark, which was a new conformity mark required by EU legislation, and the crown seal was no longer required as a conformity mark for lenses to pint in the UK. Many people fondly remember the crown symbol as a symbol they associate with traditional pint measures. In recognition of the legacy of the crown stamp, the government is providing these guidelines on how manufacturers can affix a crown symbol to beer glasses as a decorative mark on a voluntary basis. Pint glasses used to measure and sell beverages will still need to continue to display legally required compliance markings to show they are accurate, in addition to any voluntary decorative markings.
In England, Scotland and Wales, capacity service measures, such as the pint, must carry the UKCA mark to indicate compliance with legal requirements, as well as the M mark. CE marked pint glasses will continue to be accepted on the UK market until 1 January 2023. In Northern Ireland they must be CE marked (or CE + UKNI marked if the conformity assessment has been carried out by an approved body in the UK ), as well as the M marking. The crown symbol can be added as an additional decorative image. It is up to companies to decide whether or not to apply the crown symbol.