The legislation, originally passed in the final days of the Labour government in 1979, will force publicans to serve beer in the new glasses to ensure that a pint is all liquid and not froth.
The Government announced shortly before this year's general election that the legislation would finally be enforced because trading standards officers had found that 97 per cent of pints sold had less than a full pint of liquid.
The decision to impose the change from April 1994 was condemned at a meeting in Belfast yesterday of the United Kingdom Licensed Victuallers Trade Association, which represents landlords throughout Britain.
'Despite our warnings to the Government and our explanations about the huge cost of replacing the nation's pint glasses they have pushed ahead with a measure which will please no one,' Pat McLogan, chairman of the meeting, said.
The publicans say that protests about the amount of froth have come more from trading standards officers than they have from the public. The National Licensed Victuallers Association in England has only received 19 complaints.
Mr McLogan said: 'We might understand if punters were clamouring for change but they are not. Anyone who thinks their pint has too much froth and not enough beer only has to point it out to the landlord and they will top it up.
'That's all that is needed, not full-blown legislation.'
John Overton, chief executive of the NLVA, said that although many people would get fractionally more beer, they would have to pay for this as well as for the cost of buying new stocks of glasses in every pub in the country.
Trading standards officers say the change is justified because a survey passed to the Government showed an average beer deficiency of 5 per cent per pint and up to 17.5 per cent in some cases.Reuse content