Drinkers in the UK will soon be able to order beer and cider in two-thirds of a pint under new Government rules that have been welcomed by the industry.

The two-thirds pint will be introduced for pubs, bars and restaurants as part of the Government's plan to relax the law on drinks measures.

Lord Drayson, Science and Innovation minister, said at the weekend: "There is no question of replacing the British pint, but introducing the option of a new imperial measure is good news for consumers, providing them with more choice."

Other changes to be introduced include offering fortified wines in 50ml and 70ml measures and requiring that brandy is sold in 25ml and 35ml measures, the same as for other spirits. The new law will also deregulate wine serving sizes under 75ml, offering more flexibility.

The changes follow a consultation with drinks industry and consumer bodies.

"The majority of respondents to the consultation supported our view that the two-thirds of a pint measure will also offer greater flexibility for landlords, while not imposing any extra burden on them," said Lord Drayson. 

The British Beer and Pub Association today (28 September) welcomed the move.

Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "While the pint of beer remains a great British icon, a wider choice is better suited to today's tastes and lifestyles. As a lower strength drink with a wide variety of styles, tastes and flavours beer will now also be enjoyed in a richer range of measures and glass styles."

Jeremy Beadles, CEO of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, said: "Deregulating wine measures below 75ml is a welcome move that the WSTA and our members have long been arguing for.

"This flexibility will give consumers the chance to sample small measures of the huge variety of wines out there, letting them broaden their knowledge and taste everything from the finest and rarest to the most innovative and experimental."