In Australia, a standard drink refers to 10 grams of alcohol (equivalent to 12.5ml of pure alcohol). On average, this is how much the human body can process in one hour.
But even with this as a guide, it can be hard to keep track of how much you’ve had, as alcoholic drinks come in different strengths and serving sizes, and may therefore contain more than one standard drink. You also need to consider ‘human’ factors such as your age, weight, gender, fitness levels, fatigue, the health of your liver and how much you’ve eaten – as these can affect how your body processes alcohol.
It is important to familiarise yourself with the facts about alcohol, including binge drinking and drink driving. Enjoy alcohol in moderation to reduce the short and long term side effects of drinking.
What does a standard drink look like?
In Australia, all bottles, casks and cans of alcoholic beverages must note the number of standard drinks they contain on the label. It’s important to remember that one alcoholic beverage doesn’t always equal one standard drink.
As a guide:
- 375ml can low-strength beer (2.7% alcohol) = 0.8 standard drinks
- 375ml can mid-strength beer (3.5% alcohol) = 1 standard drink
- 375ml can full-strength beer (4.8% alcohol) = 1.4 standard drinks
- 100ml red wine (13.5% alcohol) = 1 standard drink
- 150ml red wine (13.5% alcohol) = 1.6 standard drinks (average restaurant serving)
- 100ml white wine (11.5% alcohol) = 0.9 standard drinks
- 150ml white wine (11.5% alcohol) = 1.4 standard drinks (average restaurant serving)
- 30ml spirits (40% alcohol) = 1 standard drink
- 275ml pre-mix spirits (approx. 5% alcohol) = 1.1 standard drinks
- 330ml pre-mix spirits (approx. 5% alcohol) = 1.2 standard drinks
- 375ml pre-mix spirits (approx. 5% alcohol) = 1.5 standard drinks
The above information is taken from www.alcohol.gov.au. Please note that these are approximate measurements and should be used as a guide only – always check the standard drinks icon on the container for an exact number of standard drinks.
The following resources may help to increase your understanding of what a standard drink is:
The DrinkWise Standard Drinks poster provides a handy guide to understanding the number of standard drinks in pours of different alcoholic drinks. It’s available to download free of charge.
The DrinkWise Standard Drinks Calculator has been designed to give you a quick and simple way to understand what a standard drink is and how many standard drinks are in your favourite beverage (based on an average restaurant serving size) . The calculator uses average sizes for cans, bottles etc., however please be aware that these vary between products. The calculator is for educational purposes, and shouldn’t be relied upon to predict blood alcohol level (BAC) or any other measure.
Through the evidence-based Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) provide Australians with evidence-based advice on the health effects of drinking alcohol, helping people to make informed decisions about how much alcohol they drink, if they choose to drink. Read about the guidelines here.