Alcohol Units

How much is a Unit

One unit equals 10ml of pure alcohol.

The number of units in a drink is based on the size of the drink, as well as its alcohol strength.

For example, a pint of strong lager contains 3 units of alcohol, whereas the same volume of low-strength lager has just over 2 units.

Fourteen units (recommended weekly limit) is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.

Calculating units

ABV is a measure of the amount of pure alcohol as a percentage of the total volume of liquid in a drink.

You can find the ABV on the labels of cans and bottles, sometimes written as “vol” or “alcohol volume”, or you can ask on of our bar staff about particular drinks.

For example, wine that says “12% ABV” or “alcohol volume 12%” means 12% of the volume of that drink is pure alcohol.

You can work out how many units there are in any drink by multiplying the total volume of a drink (in ml) by its ABV (measured as a percentage) and dividing the result by 1,000.

  • Strength (ABV) x Volume (ml) ÷ 1,000 = units


4.0 (ABV) x 500 (ml) ÷ 1,000 = 2 units

For a quicker method, use Alcohol Concern’s unit calculator