What Is Alcohol By Volume (ABV)? 7 Things You Must Know

Since ABV (alcohol by volume) can affect your body’s ability to make decisions, knowing the factors that contribute to it should be a priority. The greater the amount of alcohol you consume, the higher the percentage of alcohol in your system becomes. This means that you may be able to make better decisions when there’s little or no alcohol in your system. It is possible to calculate the percentage of alcohol in the alcoholic beverage you are drinking, but what goes into this calculation? And how much do these?

Introduction to Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

Did you know that ABV is an abbreviation for Alcohol by Volume? It’s one of the most commonly asked questions in the distilled spirits industry! Knowing your ABV can be useful for knowing what drink to select, the bottom line on inventory, and even the number of bottles you need in stock. It’s also a good measure of how much to pay for drinks.

What does ABV stand for?

ABV stands for Alcohol By Volume.

So What Really is ABV?

Alcohol by volume (ABV) is a measurement that describes the amount of alcohol in a beverage. ABV is usually listed as a percentage and represents the number of milliliters (mL) of ethanol in 100mL of solution. If the percentage says 20, it means you are drinking 20mL of real alcohol in every 100mL of liquid drink.

However, if you see 0% on the bottle or can this does not necessarily mean it’s non-alcoholic since sometimes people label non-alcoholic beer with 0% ABV even though it contains minute traces of alcohol. The lower number “0” just lets you know that clearly there is no alcohol added to help preserve freshness or flavor.

How to Calculate Alcohol By Volume

(ABV) So to find out how much alcohol is in a given beverage, we just have to divide the ABV by 100 and multiply the result by the volume of the drink. Example: If a beverage has an ABV of 4%, we would say that the beverage contains 0.04mL of alcohol per 100mL of drink, or 20mg/100mL = 2.0mg/mL. Note:

When converting volume to grams of alcohol, a standard drink is 8g of pure ethanol. This can be different from the normal unit in North America. That’s why when I say g of alcohol I mean g of pure ethanol. So in my example, the beverage contains 2.0mg/100mL = 20mg/mL of alcohol.

Alcohol by Volume Calculator

Calculate the alcohol content of a beverage. Also has a built-in calculator for grams to mL, mL to g, g to mL and mL to UK units. By the way, this tool uses a fluid volume rather than a “drink” volume. The current US drink size is 12 fl oz (355mL).

Where to find the ABV of your drink

It’s easy to figure out what percentage alcohol is in any given drink. Each country has a similar way of labeling drinks that contain alcohol so while percentages may vary, you can easily find the Alcohol by Volume (ABV) label on the bottle itself.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and “Proof” Explained

ABV is the percentage of alcohol by volume in a drink, while proof is a measure of the alcoholic strength of a drink. The proof is the ratio of alcohol to the proof spirit that makes up a drink, not the ABV of the drink. Take the example of a drink with 10% ABV, and if it is going to be called a “Bottle of Vodka” then it would be 100 proof, so it would contain 100 proof vodka (which is 25% ABV). If a drink is listed as 95 proof it means that it contains 95 proof vodka (not ABV, and therefore not 25% ABV).

In the mid-19th century in the United States, before Prohibition, so-called “mixed drinks” were often served in a container whose volume was described as “a bottle of liquor”, “a bottle of whiskey”, “a half a pint of whiskey”, etc. This was the first use of the term proof, though it did not stand alone in this usage.

Alcohol proof is the same as alcohol content. The measure of how much a given liquid contains ethanol. The term was originally used in England and was equal to approximately 1.821 times the percentage Alcohol By Volume (ABV). Nowadays, in some parts of the USA (not all), this term is used to measure twice the percentage of ABV present in any alcoholic drink.

In the past, when alcohol was being tested for its alcohol content, they would burn a swab. If it burned blue the alcohol level would be considered ‘just right’ and therefore of optimal proof at around 60% ABV.

Proof spirit is a type of alcohol sold as either 100% proof or 95 proof. When made from fermented sugar, which is commonly used for other types of “spirits”, it can be considered to be alcohol, rather than a proof spirit.

Proof spirits (typically “clear” or, less often, “fancy”) have a low alcohol content compared to blended whiskies. Low-methanol-content spirits are high quality; 95 proof whiskeys are examples of excellent quality. Alcohol content may be stated, for example, as “90proof”, “95proof”, or “100proof”, or “90% abv”.

Average ABV of different types of alcohol

  • The average ABV of most spirits ranges from 35 to 45%.
  • Liqueurs are unique in that they range from 15-30% ABV, a concentration that is not often found in other spirits. This higher alcohol content is a result of the addition of sugary fruit syrups and sweeteners, which helps to balance the strong flavor of the spirit.
  • Ales typically start at 3.5% ABV, but some brewers create stronger lagers that can have as much as 6 or 7% ABV.
  • The alcohol content of wine typically ranges from 13% to 15%.


ABV, or alcohol by volume, is a measure of alcoholic strength. The amount of ethanol (alcohol) in a container is shown as a percentage of the overall volume of the drink. The higher the percentage, the stronger the alcohol. So, water has an alcoholic strength of 0% ABV, while pure alcohol is 100% ABV.

In more scientific terms, ABV is defined as the number of milliliters (mL) of pure ethanol present in 100mL of solution at 20deg. This percentage is also used to calculate the amount of tax paid on the drink.

Where to find the ABV of your drink

You can find the ABV of any alcoholic drink on the label in most countries. It will show a number, followed by the percentage sign.

Some labels use the abbreviation “vol” instead of ABV. So, if the label on a bottle says 20 vol, it means that the content contains 20% pure alcohol.

What is the difference between ABV and Proof?

Just like ABV, alcohol proof is a measure of the amount of ethanol (alcohol) in an alcoholic drink. The term was originally used in England and was equal to about 1.821 times the percentage alcohol by volume (ABV). This term is most commonly used these days in the United States, where alcohol proof is defined as twice the percentage of ABV.

So in the USA, a gin with 40% ABV is 80 proof, and one that is 45% ABV is 90 proof.

The term comes from a century ago when liquor was ‘proofed’ by adding gunpowder and lighting it on fire. If it didn’t light, the alcohol content was deemed too weak. If it burned yellow, it was too strong. But if it burned blue, the proof was just right ( around 57%, or 114 proof).

Even today, a ‘proof spirit’ is 100 proof (50 percent ABV) or higher.

The UK now uses the ABV standard instead of alcohol proof to measure the amount of alcohol in a beverage. We think it’s a bit more straightforward!

Common ABV of gins

In the United States, the minimum strength of gin is 40.0% ABV. In the European Union, it’s 37.5% ABV.

The ABV of Gin is 40%. Gin is made from grapes for a silky smooth texture and taste, as well as a blend of seven hand-crushed gin botanicals. This gives the Gin a unique flavor that is sure to please any palate.

Gin enthusiasts know that different types of gin have unique flavors and ABVs. While most gins hover around the 40% ABV mark, there are some notable exceptions.

Fruit gin, or sloe gin, has a versatile alcohol content that ranges from 15 to 30% ABV. The EU requires sloe gin to be a minimum of 25%, but you can find variations that are lower or higher depending on your preference.

Gin enthusiasts will enjoy trying different flavored gins, which typically have an ABV between 37.5% and 40%.

The strongest gins can pack a powerful punch, reaching up to 58% ABV.

You can learn more about how gin is made in our blog post on the topic.

Where is the ABV standard used?

The proof is used in the USA, but the ABV standard is used worldwide.

In France, alc/vol (Alcohol by Volume) is measured in degrees Gay-Lussac. This was named after the French chemist Joseph Louis Gay-Loussac.

Gay-Lussac uses the value of 15 degrees Celcius for temperatures instead of 20, so the scales are different.

What is ethanol?

Ethanol is the drink of the gods, and it’s no wonder why. This powerful compound is created through the process of fermentation, a magical process that uses yeast to break down the sugars in a liquid.

The yeast turns the sugar into delicious alcohols, flavorful congeners, and carbon dioxide. This creates a liquid that is typically around 10% ABV.

The ingredients used to make alcohol can be obtained from the juices of different kinds of fruits. In the case of vodka, for example, these ingredients are grains and potatoes. Depending on what type of alcohol you’re going for, you’ll want to select only specific vegetables for malted beers as well as wines made primarily from cherries or strawberries in order to create certain blends.

There are many types of alcoholic beverages, but distilled spirits are some of the most popular. Vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey are all examples of distilled spirits. They are created by removing the water from ethanol, leaving a stronger drink behind.


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