by Eric Lemmo, BJC School Outreach and Youth Development school-community health educator
Over the past few years, locally produced, small-batch craft beers have become increasingly popular. There are more breweries than ever before, but has the amount of alcohol in that bottle of beer remained the same?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a standard 12-ounce serving of beer has 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), which equals one drink. Most regular “full-flavor” beer contains 5 percent ABV. But what about craft beers?
A walk down the beer aisle at the store or a stop at the local beer bar shows that craft beers can range in ABV from as low as 2.9 percent all the way up to 19 percent. According to two beer guides, the average ABVs for their respective “top rated” beers were 9.38 percent and 11.46 percent. Using the CDC’s guidelines, this translates to 1.88 drinks and 2.29 drinks, assuming someone only has one 12-ounce bottle. The majority of craft brewers in St. Louis package their beer in bottles that contain 22 ounces or more.
If you enjoy the occasional beer, keep in mind there may be more than one standard drink lurking in your bottle. Some of the larger bottles could easily contain enough alcohol to equal three or more drinks. The current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends not exceeding one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men. If you’re unsure what’s safe for you, talk with your health care provider.
Despite the social norms surrounding alcohol use appearing in pop culture, there is no denying that long-term alcohol abuse can have severe health consequences. If you believe you may have a problem controlling your drinking, BJC EAP can help.
For more information about the BJC School Outreach and Youth Development substance abuse prevention program, visit our website.