Designers have begun work to replace the traditional pint glass with a plastic alternative in order to cut crime in pubs, but have been told they will need to invent the ‘holy grail’ if it is to succeed.
The Home Office has commissioned a redesign of the much-loved beer glass in an attempt to reduce the number of glass and bottle attacks, which are currently at 5,500 a year.
But the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has warned the new design could alienate beer drinkers if it’s too different to the much-loved pint glass.
Neil Williams of the BBPA, said a plastic pint glass could work, but should only be implemented in pubs on a case by case basis.
“It’s a big ask, as the design council will need to come up with the holy grail of something that looks and feels like glass, but doesn’t break into pieces,” he said. “We would strongly resist a blanket approach that would add to costs and diminish the drinking experience in the thousands of premises that don’t need to do this.
“Instead, we should target the small minority of despicable individuals that use glass a weapon, often with publicans and bar staff first in the firing line.”
Nick Verebelyi, 3D branding & packaging director at Design Bridge, the company commissioned to reinvent the pint glass, told the BBC he was considering one of two designs.
“One is to coat the glass with a substance that will make sure the glass doesn't shatter into pieces when it is broken - that could be a plastic material for example,” he said. “But it would have to feel like an existing pint glass to the consumer. (Or) we could do something more radical, by looking at the whole shape and substance of the pint - we could come up with something that is completely different to glass.”
The Home Office said innovative design has played an ‘important role’ in driving crime down by a third in the last 10 years, and is confident the initiative will lead to similar successes.