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Weights and measures

You must only sell drinks in approved measures. These are:

  • pints, half pints (or half pint multiples) and the rarely used third of a pint for draught beer, lager and cider
  • multiples of 25 millilitres or 35 millilitres for gin, rum, whisky and vodka except when they're served as part of a cocktail
  • 125 millilitres or 175 millilitres for glasses of wine
  • 250 millilitres for carafes of wine

You must use officially stamped measures, metering equipment or glasses. For example, beer can be served using metered pumps or in stamped glasses.

Spirits can be measured through stamped optics or using stamped measures. Your price list must say what quantities drinks are sold in.

For more information, see the guidance notes for pubs, restaurants and cafes on the Trading Standards Institute website - Opens in a new window.

You must make the prices of food and drink clear. The easiest way is by using a price list. Bars must show the price list at the bar where orders are taken. Restaurants and cafes must show it at the entrance or in the window.

Your prices must include VAT. It must also be made clear if you have a compulsory service charge, a cover charge or a minimum charge.

Certain rules relating to the display of prices in pubs and restaurants were replaced on 26 May 2008 by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The new regulations made it a general requirement not to omit information which the average consumer needs to take an informed decision regarding a purchase.

You are also prohibited from giving misleading descriptions of food. For more information, see the guidance notes on food labelling for catering establishments on the Trading Standards Institute website - Opens in a new window.

Local trading standards officers can advise you. They also make occasional checks to make sure you're following the rules. If you break the rules you could face a large fine or even a prison sentence.

Subjects covered in this guide

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Sales and marketing

Selling and the law


Weights and measures





Use metric weights and measures


Fixed-weight packaged goods: what you must do


Rules for bakers


Rules for butchers


Rules for greengrocers

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Rules for pubs, restaurants and cafes