For Immediate Release: April 16, 2019

Media Contact:
Ben Truman
Vermont Department of Health
802-951-5153 / 802-863-7281


Having a Drink? Know Your A-B-Vs
Understand alcohol-by-volume for Alcohol Awareness Month

BURLINGTON – As the popularity of craft beers and breweries continues to rise, so does the variety − and strength – of those beers. The ever-changing options in the size and types of beer available means it’s important to know that you could be drinking more alcohol than you intended.

During Alcohol Awareness Month, health officials are reminding Vermonters to “Know Your ABVs,” or alcohol by volume, so you can adjust how much you’re drinking and keep yourself safe.

A standard 12 ounce serving size of beer is 5% ABV. But if you’re drinking a stronger beer that’s 7% ABV, the recommended serving size is smaller ­– just 9 ounces. And if that beer is 9% ABV, the serving size is even smaller – at 7 ounces. The key thing to remember is when ABV goes up, the amount you drink should go down.

“Bars and breweries may adjust serving sizes based on alcohol amounts, but always be careful drinking beer with a high alcohol content, or ABV – especially if you’re pouring your own at home or in other settings,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “Knowing the number of standard servings in your beverage can help you stay within lower-risk levels.”

Understanding ABV is especially important for young people. National data shows that more Vermonters age 12 and up are drinking alcohol compared to the country overall. The number of Vermonters binge drinking is also higher than in the country overall. According to the 2017 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, one-third of high school students drank alcohol in the past 30 days.

Dr. Levine said Vermont teenagers need to have a good understanding of the nature of alcohol and the risks of drinking.

“Parents have a role in helping their teens understand the dangers of drinking too much, and the importance of knowing and respecting their level of alcohol tolerance,” Dr. Levine said. “At, parents can find tips and supports for how to talk with their children about this and other risky behaviors.”

If you decide to drink alcohol, be sure to:

  • Drink in moderation – up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks for men.
  • Drink a lot of water – before, during, and after drinking alcohol.
  • Eat – especially foods high in protein.
  • Space out drinks – the average person breaks down one drink an hour.
  • NEVER drink and drive.

Anyone who is under 21, is pregnant, taking certain medications that interact with alcohol, or suffering from certain medical conditions should not drink alcohol.

Enter your drink size and ABV to find out how many drinks you’re really consuming:

Find out what low-risk drinking means:

Take this quick online screening to see if your drinking is a risk to your health:

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