King's bar resolves beer price dispute

Wardroom overcomes pint-sized challenge

John Adams demonstrates how a 60 oz. pitcher can be split. (Photo: Belinda Alzner)

The confusion is over.

After a tug-of-war with the liquor compliance board, the Wardroom has settled on a price of $12.50 for a 60 oz. pitcher of beer.

This decision was finalized on Thursday when the board and the bar agreed on the measurement of a jug.

"It took us five days, four price changes, I don't know how many emails and phone calls, but we finally got there," said bar manager John Adams with a smile.

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Hopefully patrons won't see another jump in price for a long time. (Photo: Belinda Alzner)

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Wardroom bar manager John Adams discusses the price and measurement debacle as he shows how much fluid a pitcher can hold. (Video: Heather Gillis)

At the start of the term, the Wardroom had its pitchers listed as 70 oz. This drew the attention of liquor inspectors, who measured the jugs during a routine visit on Jan. 6.

Inspectors informed staff members that they were breaking the law by selling 64 oz. of beer for $11.50. Although the Wardroom was not fined, the bar complied immediately and raised the price of its pitchers to $13.50 -- the second change in price since the fall.

According to the Liquor Act of Nova Scotia, establishments cannot charge less than $2.50 for one unit of alcohol. One unit of beer is
12 oz. or 355 ml.

By the inspector's measurements, the price per unit of the Wardroom's pitchers was $2.16.

Wardroom bartenders thought the measurements were off, so they did some measuring themselves after happy hour on Monday night and found that the pitchers were only able to hold 54 oz.

Adams double-checked this on Tuesday. He found that the jugs held 56 oz. of beer.

This mathematical mess prompted Adams to contact the compliance board. He asked for the inspector to come back and remeasure the pitchers.

When the inspector came back Thursday afternoon, they reached the current agreement on price and size of the jugs.

Adams shrugged off the misunderstanding.


"We mismeasured the pitchers as well so this is really a comedy of errors," he said.

As far as Adams knows, liquor inspectors have come by the Wardroom three times this year, but this was the first time their serving containers were measured.

"It's normal that they do rounds. To be absolutely honest they haven't been by as much this year as they were last year but you have to be prepared for them to come by any night," Adams said.

Wardroom cheaper than other campus hangouts

Mark Jurkovic, manager of the Grad House, said the inspectors visit his establishment a few times a year. Liquor inspectors have not measured the pub's pitchers or pints because its regular prices are significantly above the minimum set by the liquor board.

The Grad House sells 56 oz. pitchers of Garrison Red, Brown and Raspberry Wheat Ale for $21 each. Jugs of Coors Light and Canadian cost $17.

"Customers don't seem to mind spending that to support local microbreweries," said Jurkovic.

At the Wardroom, every type of beer, including the three Garrison varieties, costs the same amount of money. This is a difference of $8.50 compared to the Grad House. Unfortunately there is a catch -- this deal is only available for King's students and their friends.

While Adams is not upset with the liquor compliance board or the inspector, he is bothered by students' perception of the multiple price changes.

"I'm more worried that people will lose confidence in the way we're running things, I guess. That's my biggest fear," said Adams.

Ginny Movat, a fourth-year contemporary studies student at King's, doesn't think students will be upset with the Wardroom's management.

"I think people understand that it's not necessarily the choice of the Wardroom and that what we had was a really, really lucky and a really rare scenario and we still have that."

 

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