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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 06:27 GMT
Counting the cost of a night at the pub
Bar in a pub
Getting the message? Bottles and cans of beer will carry warnings
Most drinkers probably have some idea of the health risks involved of consuming too much alcohol, but from today it will be possible to monitor the number of units consumed.

The brewer Scottish & Newcastle will be labelling its brands according to the number of units of alcohol they contain.

Drinkers have been able to find out the strength of beer, wine and spirits by looking for its alcohol by volume level.

  • Our reporter Danny Savage was at a bar in Newcastle, click on the link above to see this item

  • The ABV is given as a percentage, the higher the number the stronger; and it can be found on bottles and cans, and on beer pumps in pubs and bars.

    But the new system showing units, will mean it's possible to stay within safe daily recommendations.

    What is a unit?

  • One small glass of wine, half a pint of beer or one pub measure of spirits.

  • Alcohol content of different products does vary. Some stronger beers and lagers may contain as many as 2.5 units of alcohol per half pint.

  • The size of some drinks may also vary; home measures of spirits are usually more generous than pub measures, and many bars now serve large glasses of wine as standard.

  • Cans of beer and lager often contain about three-quarters of a pint, rather than half, and so will contain 1.5 units.

    How many units per day?

  • British recommendations are two to three units of alcohol per day for women.

  • The safe amount for men is three to four units a day.

  • It's a good idea to have two to three alcohol free days each week.


    Britain's biggest brewer Scottish & Newcastle, which includes the company Scottish Courage will also place health messages on its bottles and cans of beer.

    The move is designed to help combat binge drinking. Other brewers are expected to follow suit.

    Labeilling beer bottles with warnings
    Danny Savage reports from Newcastle

    BBC Breakfast




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