Australian Alcohol Guidelines and standard drinks

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:

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.

Australian Alcohol Guidelines

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publishes guidelines for reducing the health risks of drinking alcohol. New guidelines were published in 2009, which differ in important respects from the previous guidelines. There are now only four basic recommendations, which can be summarised as follows:

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