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San Diego Craft Beer Warning, Look Out For The ABV

San Diego is quickly becoming the craft brew capital of the world. Sandiego.org has dubbed San Diego the “Napa of beer” because of the number of craft breweries in the county. Many local tasting rooms, brew pubs and restaurants are now listing on their menus the beer style, the size of the glass each beer is served in, and the ABV, (alcohol by volume).

Why is the ABV important? The ABV is the measurement of the amount of alcohol within the total volume of liquid, or the strength or potency of the beer. The amount of alcohol in the beer plus the size of the glass will depend on how quickly you will feel intoxicated and be under the influence for purposes of driving.

The guidelines for drinking and driving use a standard formula for one 12-ounce beer averaging 5% ABV. Most large beer makers, such as Budweiser and Coors, use 12-ounce bottles and their ABV usually ranges from 4 to 6%.

If you drink a 12-ounce beer that is 7.5% ABV, that is 1 1/2 times that of the 5% ABV beer. If you have a pint of beer that is 16-ounces, that is 1/3 more beer than a standard serving. If you drink a beer with a higher ABV or is poured into a larger glass, your blood-alcohol content, (BAC), will increase at a rate higher than the standard guidelines. And, if you are arrested by law enforcement for DUI, you can expect your BAC will be higher than if you had a standard size beer with a standard amount of alcohol.

Keep in mind that the drinking guidelines are just that, guidelines. Many things factor into whether or not you will be under the influence such as your sex, weight, if, when and/or what you ate, some medical conditions, among others.

The best way to avoid a drunk driving arrest is simply not drink alcoholic beverages and drive. There are many alternatives to taking this risk while still enjoying your beer or other cocktail: Use Car2Go to the location and take a cab home; Take a cab in both directions and to make it cheaper, split it with friends; Use public transportation; Designate a sober driver; Or, stay where the party is until you are sober.

If you are out enjoying San Diego’s craft brews and you happen to be pulled over and arrested for drunk driving, you owe it to yourself to hire a criminal defense attorney that handles DUI matters.

(Note: Some breweries use ABW, (alcohol by weight), instead of ABV. Alcohol measured by weight instead of volume will actually be stronger. To convert the ABW to ABV, multiply the ABW by 1.25.)

The above blog article is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. For information about a specific case, speak to a drunk driving attorney in your area.


Do not just plead guilty even if your breath or blood test was a .08% or more. There may still be defenses in your case that can lead to reduced charges with less punishment or even a dismissal! Hire a DUI defense firm that will aggressively defend your case. For a free, confidential phone consultation contact The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman today at 619-260-1122 or use the “Contact Us” form on this page.