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How many ‘pintjes’ go into a barrel?

How many 25 cl glasses of beer does a 50-litre barrel of beer contain?  It may not be a question that has taxed your brain, but it is an issue on which judges at the council of state, Belgium’s highest administrative court, were called upon to rule.  Pub landlords were convinced a barrel only contains 168 glasses, while the Belgian tax authorities insisted the number was 192.

The matter is of some consequence if you consider the tax implications of each view.  Landlords are taxed on the basis of the number of glasses they can get out of a barrel.

The row between pub landlords and the tax service has been bubbling on for eight years now, but the council of state has now finally ruled in the matter finding in favour of pub landlords.  So now we all know how may ‘pintjes’ you can squeeze out of a barrel: only 168 and that is 24 fewer than the taxman had been counting.

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