Understanding units

Learning about alcohol units can help you to understand how strong your drinks are and keep track of your drinking.

One alcohol unit is around 8 to 10mg of pure alcohol. Sometimes, you might see a unit measure written on your drink packaging, such as ‘1.2 units’. Alcohol content is also expressed as “alcohol by volume” (ABV) – so a bottle of wine which is 13% ABV is 13% pure alcohol.

To help you add up your units over an average week, try Drinkaware’s Seven-Day Unit Calculator.

In 2016, The Chief Medical Officer for England and Wales lowered the alcohol unit guidelines.

  • To reduce the risk of alcohol-related health harms, men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units per week.
  • It’s best to spread the units over several days – don’t save them and binge
  • To help you keep track of your alcohol units, Drinkaware developed a Unit and Calorie Calculator – try the free app to get a better understanding of your drinking.