Standard drinks

What are 'standard drinks' and why do we use them?

Standard drinks

A 'standard drink' is the measure of alcohol used to work out safe drinking levels.

A standard drink in Australia contains 10g of alcohol. This is always the same, no matter what type of alcoholic beverage or how it is served. As some drinks are stronger than others (for example, low-strength beer is around 2.7% whereas spirits are typically 40%), the higher the alcohol concentration of a drink, the less liquid it contains.

A serving of alcohol in a pub or club can often be larger than a 'standard' drink, for example a standard glass of wine is 100ml but a typical serve may be 150ml.

In Australia, all bottles, cans and casks containing alcoholic beverages are required by law to state on the label the approximate number of standard drinks they contain.

One Australian standard drink is equal to approximately:

  • 285 mL of full strength beer (4.8% alc. vol)
  • 375mL of mid strength beer (3.5% alc.vol)
  • 425 mL of low strength beer (2.7% alc. vol)
  • 100 mL of wine (red - 13% alc. vol, and white – 11.5% alc. vol)
  • 100 mL of champagne (12% alc. vol)
  • 30 mL of spirits (40% alc. vol)
  • 275 mL bottle of ready-to-drink beverage (5% alcohol content)

Glasses, bottles and cans of alcohol contain varying amounts of alcohol and can contain more or less than one standard drink - see our Standard drinks guide for more information.

Line up of different drinks