A standard drink is a notional drink that contains a specified amount of pure alcohol (ethanol). The standard drink is used in many countries to quantify alcohol intake. It is usually expressed as a certain measure of beer, wine, or spirits. One standard drink always contains the same amount of alcohol regardless of the container size or the type of alcoholic beverage, but does not necessarily correspond to the typical serving size in the country in which it is served.
In the United Kingdom, there is a system of units of alcohol which serves as a guideline for alcohol consumption. A single unit of alcohol is defined as 10 ml. The number of units present in a typical drink is printed on bottles and the advent of smartphones has led to the creation of apps which inform consumers of the number of units contained in an alcoholic drink. The system is intended as an aid to people who are regulating the amount of alcohol they drink; it is not used to determine serving sizes.
In the United States, the standard drink contains 0.6 US fluid ounces (18 ml) of alcohol. This is approximately the amount of alcohol in a 12-US-fluid-ounce (350 ml) glass of 5% ABV beer, a 5-US-fluid-ounce (150 ml) glass of 12% ABV wine, or a 1.5-US-fluid-ounce (44 ml) glass of a 40% ABV (80 proof) spirit.
Pure alcohol measure
A related measure, the unit of alcohol, is used in the United Kingdom, where the number of such units contained in a typical serving of an alcoholic beverage is publicized and printed on bottles. For example, a typical drink of 1 pint of ale of 5% alcohol by volume contains 2.8 units of alcohol.
Standard drinks as defined by various countries
The amount of alcohol is stated in the table in both grams and millilitres. The number of standard drinks contained in 500ml of beer of 5% ABV (a typical large drink of beer) is stated for comparison.
|Country||Mass (g)||Volume (ml)||500 ml beer contains|
|Australia||10||12.67||2.0 standard drinks|
|Austria||6||7.62||3.2 standard drinks|
|Canada||13.6||17.1||1.4 standard drinks|
|Denmark||12||15.2||1.6 standard drinks|
|Finland||12||15.2||1.6 standard drinks|
|France||12||15.2||1.6 standard drinks|
|Hungary||17||21.5||1.2 standard drinks|
|Iceland||8||10||2.5 standard drinks|
|Ireland||10||12.7||2.0 standard drinks|
|Italy||10||12.7||2.0 standard drinks|
|Japan||19.75||25||1.0 standard drinks|
|Netherlands||9.9||12.5||2.0 standard drinks|
|New Zealand||10||12.7||2.0 standard drinks|
|Poland||10||12.7||2.0 standard drinks|
|Portugal||14||17.7||1.4 standard drinks|
|Spain||10||12.7||2.0 standard drinks|
|UK||7.9||10||2.5 standard drinks|
|USA||14||17.7[n 1]||1.4 standard drinks|
- defined as 0.6 fl oz
- Guide to Labelling of Alcoholic Beverages
- "The Alculator".
- ALAC - What's in a standard drink?
- ICAP Report 5 - "What is a 'standard drink'". URL:. Accessed on June 19, 2008.
- Population Health Division, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing The Australian Standard Drink
- Canadian Public Health Association. URL: . 2006.
- paihdelinkki.fi, How to use alcohol wisely
- Landlæknisembættið, Icelandic Directorate of Health
- New Zealand Food Safety Authority
- "Alcohol and Public Health: Frequently Asked Questions". CDC. Retrieved 2011-10-17.