What is a Standard Drink?

It is important to understand what a standard drink is so that when you are drinking you can manage how much alcohol you consume. This can help you stick to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines.

In Australia, a standard drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of container size or alcohol type (e.g beer, wine, spirit).

A standard drink is a unit of measurement. In the same way one metre measures a particular distance travelled, one standard drink measures a particular amount of alcohol consumed.

Because alcoholic drinks are sold and served in many different sizes, it's often difficult to know how many standard drinks you are consuming.

A standard drink may be less than you think. 

Australian food labelling law requires all packaged alcohol to include the number of standard drinks on its label.

Counting your standard drinks can help you stay within the NHRMC Guidelines.1 Health experts recommend to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol, healthy men and women should:

  • drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week; and
  • drink no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.

The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm.

How many standard drinks are you pouring?

Find out how many standard drinks are in the drinks you typically pour by using our 'What is a Standard Drink' tool.


National Health and Medical Research Council. (2020).  Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

Page last updated: 23 December 2020

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