About Standard Drink Sizes

Key points

  • Different types of alcohol—like beer, wine, and liquor—have different amounts of alcohol in them.
  • Different alcoholic products within each of these types of alcohol can also have different amounts of alcohol in them.
  • Standard drink sizes can help you know how much pure alcohol is in your drink. This can help you count and track your drinks.
US standard drink= 12oz beer (5% ABV), 8 oz malt liquor (7% ABV),5oz wine (12% ABV),1.5oz 80-proof (40% ABV) distilled spirit

Why it's important

The amount of alcohol you drink impacts your health

  • Your liver can only process small amounts of alcohol.
  • The rest of the alcohol can hurt your liver and harm other organs as it moves through your body.
  • This is why the amount of alcohol you drink can increase your risk of getting ill, injured, or even dying sooner.

Standard drink sizes are important

  • It can be hard to know how much alcohol is in a serving of beer, wine, liquor, or other type of alcohol.
  • That is because different alcoholic products vary in the size and amounts of alcohol in them.
    • For example, one can of beer might not have the same amount of alcohol, or standard drinks, as a can of a different kind of beer.
  • Knowing what counts as one standard drink can help you figure out how much alcohol you drink.

Standard alcohol drink sizes

In the United States, a standard drink has 0.6 ounces (14 grams) of pure alcohol. The amount of pure alcohol in each drink depends on the alcohol content, or percent of alcohol by volume (ABV).

One standard drink is equivalent to:

  • 12 ounces of beer with 5% alcohol.
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor with 7% alcohol.
  • 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol.
  • A shot or 1.5 ounces of liquor or distilled spirts (80-proof liquor).
    • 80 proof means the liquor has 40% alcohol.
    • Brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey are examples of types of liquor.
Infographic showing that beer, malt liquor, wine, and a shot of certain types of alcohol are considered 1 standard drink.
Each of these drinks have about the same amount of pure alcohol.


Drinking alcohol excessively on an occasion or over time can lead to serious health impacts.

What you can do

Check your drinking‎

Take a few minutes to check your drinking. You will get personalized feedback that can help you decide if you want to drink less.

You can: