Alcoholic units

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In the UK a system of alcoholic units is employed for a rough measure of the amount of alcohol in different drinks.

  • A normal glass of wine or sherry, a single measure of spirits and a half pint of beer each contain about one unit, or 8g (1/4oz) alcohol.
  • A large glass of red or white wine or half a pint of cider contains about 12g (3/8oz), or one and a half units. However strong lager may contain as much as two units per half pint.


It is recommended that men drink no more than 21 units and women 14 units a week. The difference between genders is given due to the (typically) lower weight and water-to-body-mass-ratio of women.

In Australia, we have a similar concept known as 'standard drinks'. A glass of wine or a shot of spirits are considered a standard drink. A 375mL bottle of beer can vary from 0.9 standard drinks for light beer to 1.4 for normal beer.