The majority of us have unknowingly (and illicitly) been getting a little extra liquor in our drinks. Just over a millilitre extra, to be exact - hardly enough to notice, but enough to significantly affect bar and restaurant profits.
Kyle Tweter, co-owner of The Moose bar in Vancouver, says he stumbled on this little-known fact after tax officials audited his bar, and then demanded that his business fork over thousands of dollars, based on the amount of liquor it had purchased. According to Mr. Tweter's own records, that amount didn't come close to matching how much alcohol the bar had sold.
On a mission to account for the discrepancy, Mr. Tweter scrutinized his business, ruling out employee theft and spillage before finding the real culprit: wrong-size shot glasses. "We were totally shocked," he says.
Like The Moose, most Canadian bars and restaurants have been using U.S.- ounce shot glasses, which contain 29.6 ml of liquid. The Canadian metric ounce holds the 28.4 ml required under liquor laws.
Finding a metric shot glass, however, is nearly impossible in Canada, Mr. Tweter says. So, he and business partner, Dan Wilson, decided to develop their own. Their company, Can-Pour, was born.
Can-Pour has been supplying its smaller shot glasses to B.C. bars and restaurants for the past three months, and is now extending its distribution across the country. Mr. Tweter estimates that an establishment spending about $20,000 a month on liquor could save in the neighbourhood of $1,000 by using a metric-ounce shot glass.
It's a savings that evokes a stunned look among his new shot-glass customers: "It's sort of the same as our reaction when we found out we were using the wrong ones," he says. "People are really, really surprised."