What is a standard drink?

What is a standard drink?

Getting the facts about standard drinks is a good place to start to understand your drinking. A 2012 report by the Health Research Board (HRB) found that less than 1 in 10 people can correctly identify the number of standard drinks in various different measures when asked.

A standard drink is a measure of alcohol. In Ireland, one standard drink contains roughly 10 grams of pure alcohol, taking the average person about one hour to process although this will vary from person to person. The number of standard drinks is based on the size of the drink and its alcohol strength, usually shown on labels as alcohol by volume (%ABV).

You'll see from the graphic above that common examples include a half pint of beer, a small glass of wine and a pub measure of spirits - all are based on average strength drinks. There is a huge variety of alcoholic drinks available which can vary dramatically in alcohol content. This can lead to people drinking more than they are aware of, so it's always important to check the strength of your drink as this will affect the number of standard drinks you consume.

Staying within the Department of Health/HSE low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption is recommended to reduce your risk of experiencing short and long-term effects of alcohol misuse. Why not try out our drinks calculator to find out how many standard drinks are in different types of alcohol?

Find out about the low-risk guidelines »