Equalization: Not All Alcohol is the Same


Do you know how much alcohol is in a mixed drink compared to a beer? About the same? A little more? A lot more? The answer depends on the drink, and scientific research tells us that no two mixed drinks are the same.

For more than 200 years, U.S. policymakers have recognized the significant differences between beer and hard liquor, and that laws and regulations governing the two products should be different. The false notion that “a drink is a drink,” commonly referred to as “standard drink,” is easily dispelled with a careful look at the facts. Beer and hard liquor are not made, served, consumed or absorbed in the body the same.

Beer Institute Position

The Beer Institute wants to ensure that accurate and applicable moderate drinking guidance is being provided to consumers through public health advice, government literature and policy documents.

  1. The phrase “one drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol” and the drink definition box on page 21 of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines should not be included in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines;
  2. Language should be added to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines encouraging consumers to act prudently by knowing what they are drinking and not assuming that servings of beverage alcohol, especially mixed drinks made with hard liquor, are exactly the same across categories;
  3. The Know Your Drink graphic should be added to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines because it is a better way to inform consumer decisions regarding beverage alcohol; and
  4. Language should also be added to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines advising consumers to be aware that scientific research shows that there are differing rates of absorption and inebriation for different beverage alcohol products, especially between hard liquor and beer.

Additional Resources

Recent Dietary Guidelines Comments

To learn more about the Beer Institute and the Brewer's Association's comments on the recently issued Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC Report), download the below PDF.