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Raise a glass for Bristol Food Connections

Food glorious food article 2

Scott Templeton

Press release issued: 2 May 2014

Research and events developed at the University of Bristol will feed into the city’s first ever Bristol Food Connections festival this week, when the city celebrates all things food and drink.

Researchers at the University have already completed one study on drinking behaviour, and another will be conducted during the festival, which runs from 1 to 11 May.

The University is also running three events throughout the 10 days including talks on molecular gastronomy, the treatment of animals in the food-chain, and the future for sustainable food production.

The University of Bristol’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group (TARG) ran a study over two weeks in April to try to determine whether the shape of a drinker’s glass will affect the speed at which they drink.

Three Bristol pubs, The Green Man in Kingsdown, The Portcullis, and The Victoria, both in Clifton, served all of their beers, ales and ciders in straight pint and half pint glasses over one whole weekend, and in curved glasses over another weekend. Monetary takings were recorded on each night of experiment.

Results showed that on nights when curved glasses were used, takings were higher than when straight glasses were used, suggesting that drinking rates were higher when customers used curved glasses, although there was a lot of variability making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.

The results of this study, along with landlord interviews, will be used to inform a larger study, the results of which could have implications for policy decisions regarding drinking environments in the UK.

During Bristol Food Connections, TARG will set up shop at the same three Dawkins Ales pubs to investigate whether drinking alcohol changes people's perceptions of attractiveness – a phenomenon more commonly known as the ‘beer-goggles effect’.

Testing will take place on 2, 3, 9 and 10 May between 5pm and 11.30pm, and although drinks will not be provided, members of the public are welcome to join the researchers on these days.

TARG will also be at the At-Bristol ‘After Hours’ event on 8 May discussing the beer glass research with members of the public and giving people the opportunity to get involved.

The University’s celebration of food continues on 3 May at Hamilton House, when the new hub Soil, Seeds, and Social Change will form a panel of diverse experts to debate whether local food is the future of sustainable production. The hub is co-ordinated by the University’s Mark Jackson and Naomi Millner from the School of Geographical Sciences, and Karen Tucker from the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies.

On 7 May Professor Peter Barham, from the School of Physics, will give a talk entitled ‘Molecular cuisine: what is it and should we encourage the use of science in the kitchen?’

Professor Barham introduced chef Heston Blumenthal to many of the scientific techniques he famously combines with gastronomy and the talk will discuss how these innovations have been used and adapted.

On 9 May, a debate about the treatment of animals kept for meat and dairy will take place between Professor David Main from the School of Veterinary Sciences, Angela Wright from Compassion in World Farming, and Helen Browning, Chief Executive of the Soil Association.

The talks are organised jointly by the Centre of Public and Ceremonial Events and the Centre for Public Engagement.  Tickets are available from their website.

For more information on the TARG research projects please visit the TARG events page.


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