Update to Post On Half Bottles
In the original post on the British Medical Journal's recommendation for the industry to offer more half bottles to curb excessive drinking, Got Tannins offered a tongue in cheek response.
We said it sounded like a terrible idea. Well reader Josh B. pointed out in a comment that half bottles make sense in certain instances, such as a work night.
Well that got me to re-thinking my original comment.
In reality, I think our reader brings up an excellent point and I think there is tremendous benefit to the wine industry as well as wine drinkers if more choice is available in the market place.
Today almost all of the wine sold is sold in traditional 750ml (25.4 ounces). bottles. Many higher end restaurants and a few select retailers will offer half-bottles, at 375ml (12.7 ounces). A typical 750ml bottle will serve 4-6 glasses, depending on the pour. Obviously, a half bottle will then serve 2-3 glasses. Yes magnums are available, but usually you see them as decorations in restaurants. Point being, and this number is just an educated guess, that 90% of wine sold is in a traditional 750ml bottle.
This varies tremendously from the liquor industry, which offers a wide array of consumer options. If you go into a liquor store it is quite common to see the single serving bottles that are usually found in airplanes, the flask size bottles that folks sneak into concerts and sporting events, 750ml bottles and then a few sizes up from there up to about 1.75 liters.
Think of the benefit to the wine industry to offer consumers more choice. Not necessarily all the options the rum and vodka makers are providing, but more than we have today.
Winemakers benefit from being able to expose wine to a larger audience at what is perceived to be a lower cost to the customer but in reality will be a higher per ounce cost. Customers benefit as many will be able to experience wine they may otherwise not be able to afford (most restaurants don't serve Mouton Rothschild by the glass), not to mention if smaller bottles are more widely available the benefit of not having to worry about the wine going bad. Retailers benefit because the margin structure could easily be higher for them.