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# how much percent of alcohol is in a standard drink

## how much percent of alcohol is in a standard drink

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## What’s a “standard drink”?

In the United States, a “standard drink” (also known as an alcoholic drink-equivalent) is any drink that contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol. Although the drinks pictured here are different sizes, each contains approximately the same amount of alcohol and counts as one U.S. standard drink or one alcoholic drink-equivalent.

Each beverage portrayed above represents one U.S. standard drink (also known as an alcoholic drink-equivalent). The percent of pure alcohol, expressed here as alcohol by volume (alc/vol), varies within and across beverage types.

# What’s a standard drink?

A standard drink isn’t usually the same as a glass of wine or beer poured in a pub or at home.

One standard drink in New Zealand contains 10 grams of pure alcohol. The standard drink measure is a simple way for you to work out how much alcohol you are drinking.

The law requires all bottles, cans and casks of alcoholic drinks to be labelled with how many standard drinks they contain. Look at the label for wording about standard drinks or for a standard drinks image. The number inside the image tells you approximately how many standard drinks in a container.

The number of standard drinks in different alcoholic drinks varies. It depends on the size of the container and the amount of alcohol it contains.

### Check the standard

Check the standard drinks on the label to work out how many drinks you are serving out of each bottle, can or cask.

For example, if a standard drink label on a bottle of wine says it contains eight standard drinks, and that bottle has only filled four big glasses, each of those glasses contains approximately two standard drinks or 20 grams of alcohol.

If you want information about the number of standard drinks in different drinks, download the Straight up guide to standard drinks pamphlet (PDF, 438KB).

### Why are standard drinks important?

Looking at labels and counting standard drinks is a reliable way of knowing how much alcohol you are drinking.

Counting glasses, bottles, or cans of alcohol can be misleading because each one may contain varying amounts of alcohol.

Whereas one standard drink always contains the same amount of alcohol (10 grams) despite the container size or alcohol type.

An average person’s liver can only break down around one standard drink of alcohol per hour.

### How are standard drinks calculated?

The formula to work out the number of standard drinks in an alcoholic drink is:

Amount of drink in litres (the volume of the container) multiplied by the percent by volume of alcohol (%) multiplied by 0.789 (which is the density of ethanol at room temperature) equals the number of standard drinks.

For example a 500ml bottle of beer which is 5% alcohol by volume:

0.5 multiplied by 5 multiplied by 0.789 equals 1.97 standard drinks

0.5 x 5 x 0.789 = 1.97 (approx 2 standard drinks).

## A guide to standard drinks

One standard drink in New Zealand contains 10 grams of pure alcohol.

All bottles, cans and casks of alcoholic drinks have to be labelled with how many standard drinks they contain. Looking at labels and counting standard drinks is a reliable way of knowing and controlling how much alcohol you are drinking.

The number of standard drinks in different alcoholic drinks varies. It depends on the size of the container and the amount of alcohol it contains.

Use this interactive tool to find out how many standard drinks are in typical containers of different types of drinks.

## Can you pour a standard drink?

A standard drink has 10g of pure alcohol in it. But how do you know exactly how much that is? How full should you fill the glass?

Filling a glass to the top doesn’t necessarily mean you have poured a standard drink. Glass sizes vary. The percentage of alcohol in a type of drink, such as wine, beer or spirits, often varies too. This makes it very easy at a party or at home to pour a much bigger helping than just one standard drink.

The Can You Pour a Standard Drink? interactive tool lets you fill a glass with the alcohol of your choice. You decide when to stop! Have a go with different vessels. It’s fun. Click the button below.