What does etching on the bottom of a beer glass do? What purpose does an etched glass serve?

2 Answers 2


The etching provides a nucleation point. To quote a couple places:

A nucleation point on a beer glass refers to an etched mark or pattern on the bottom of the inside of a beer glass. The etching is called a nucleation point (or a widget in the UK) and helps the release of carbonation and can create a steady stream of bubble emanating from the etched portion of the glass. This works by CO2 releasing (dissolving into gas) when it comes in contact with the rough surface of the nucleation points. This is not a mere marketing ploy and a nucleation point does increase the amount of bubbles released when compared side by side with a non- nucleated beer glass.


A laser etched nucleation site within the glass maintains flavor release during the drinking experience. Samuel Adams Unveils the Samuel Adams Boston Lager Pint Glass.

  • The purpose of creating nucleation sites is that it creates and maintains the head. That is for aesthetic purposes, but the head also brings beer aroma to your nose so it adds to the perceived flavor as well.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 14:10
  • 2
    @Dave - that's what my answer said
    – warren
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 12:48
  • 1
    I thought the statement "maintains flavor release during the drinking experience" to not be very descriptive as to how that works.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 13:26
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    @Dave I found the quote pretty clear :)
    – warren
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 13:27

The widget is for aesthetic purposes only. Some people think it looks better with a head. But it flattens lager.

I refuse these glasses in pubs as I like a lively lager.

Test it yourself. Test two lagers in two glasses. One with a widget and one without. Taste the difference at the end of the pint. The widget flattens the lager by removing CO2.

  • 1
    Where you wrote "larger", did you mean "lager"? I'm having trouble understanding what you mean there. Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 16:48
  • @MonicaCellio - no doubt answerer meant "lager" (I just made an edit)
    – warren
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 14:53
  • The widget/nucleation point is NOT merely for "aesthetic purposes", as my answer demonstrates
    – warren
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 14:54
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    To be fair, the etching probably does cause the beer to go flat faster which the accepted answer doesn't mention.
    – Eric S
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 16:25
  • @EricS - if your beer has gone flat because of the nucleation point before you finish it ... it's probably also warm and nasty :)
    – warren
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 13:16

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