Defining a standard drink

It is important to understand what a standard drink is, so you know how much alcohol you are consuming. This can help you reduce your risk of alcohol caused cancer by following the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines:

For healthy men and women to remain at low-risk of alcohol-related disease over the lifetime, health experts recommend drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day.

In Australia, one standard drink is any containing 10 grams of alcohol.

All bottles, cans and casks of alcohol packaged for sale are required by law to state on the label the approximate number of standard drinks contained.

It can be hard to estimate standard drinks in real-life situations because:

  • glass sizes vary
  • people share drinks (e.g. jugs, casks or bottles of alcohol)
  • glasses are topped up by other people
  • the composition of mixed drinks is unknown (cocktails or punch).

Think you know what a standard drink looks like? Use our Standard Drinks Calculator and see how your drinking adds up.

Light beer (2.7% alcohol)

Container Amount Standard drinks
1 middy or pot 285ml 0.5 standard drinks
1 can or stubbie 375ml 0.8 standard drinks

Mid beer (3.5% alcohol)

Container Amount Standard drinks
1 middy or pot 285ml 0.7 standard drinks
1 can or stubbie 375ml 1 standard drink

Regular beer (4.5% alcohol)

Container Amount Standard drinks
1 middy or pot 285ml 1.1 standard drinks
1 can or stubbie 375ml 1.4 standard drinks

Wine (9.5% to 13% alcohol)

Container Amount Standard drinks
1 standard serve 100ml 1 standard drink
1 average serve 150ml 1.6 standard drinks
1 bottle 750ml 7 to 8 standard drinks

Spirits (40% alcohol)

Container Amount Standard drinks
1 nip 30ml 1 standard drink
1 bottle 700ml 22 standard drinks

Pre-mixed drinks (5% alcohol)

Container Amount Standard drinks
1 can or bottle 375ml 1.5 standard drinks

 


Note: Some cocktails contain more than 3 standard drinks. Source: NHMRC, 2009