The Hazard of Craft Beer: Stronger Than You May Think

Posted by Richard Lawson | Aug 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

The craft beer industry is booming, seeing double-digit growth of new craft beers every single year since 2014. With the growth of the industry, comes a similar growth in the amount of higher alcohol content beer as well. As a result, the old rules about how to judge if you have had too much may fly out the window.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia, an experienced Cobb County DUI attorney can defend your case to protect your constitutional rights.

Understanding Alcohol by Volume in Georgia

It is important to understand that many of the craft beers you may be consuming, whether at the local brewery or what you bought at the grocery store, are likely to have a higher percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV) than the beers of old.

American beer tastes are changing. As a whole, we used to prefer lighter beers with lower alcohol content. For example, popular light beer included:

  • Michelob Ultra at 4.2% ABV
  • Miller Light at 4.2% ABV
  • Coors Light at 4.2% ABV
  • Bud Light at 4.2% ABV
  • Guinness Draught at 4.2%. ABV

See a pattern?

With the rise of the craft beer movement has also been a rise of higher ABV beer. It has become very common for craft beer to have an ABV of 7%, 8%, or even higher. Some beer may even exceed 11%. As time goes on, higher ABV beer has become increasingly common:

  • Troegenator Double Bock at 8.2% ABV
  • G'Knight Imperial Red at 8.7% ABV
  • Japanese Green Tea IPA at 9.2%
  • He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. at 10% ABV.

Most bottles display the ABV somewhere on the bottle, and many breweries even put the ABV on the menu. However, it is easy to forget that "I'm fine after two beers usually" will not apply if you are drinking beer with up to double the ABV per beer. In fact, you probably don't even pay attention to the ABV, so don't even know there's a difference between the beer you may have once drank to the trendy crafts beer of today.

Old Rules Don't Apply to Drinking

An old rule that many people follow is "1 beer = 1 wine = 1 shot" for standard servicing sizes of each; which holds that generally -- each person is different -- your blood alcohol content (BAC) will go up by 0.02% with each of those and last for about 1 hour in your metabolism. With each of those drinks, you could theoretically keep track of your alcohol intake and judge whether it is safe to drive.

Example: If Jon drinks 3 light beers, the typical increase of 0.02% would then add up to a BAC of 0.06%. If he stays and hangs out with his friends for two hours (without having another drink) his BAC will have roughly dropped 0.04% and is back down to a BAC of 0.02%.

This, of course, is assuming that Jon is drinking your standard "light" beer, with an average of about 4.2% ABV.

However, this test (which is not exact in any way, shape, or form) will be completely thrown off by higher ABV beers.

Example: If Jon drinks three Troegenator Double Bocks (8.2%), then each drink will increase his BAC by about 0.04%. He will have a BAC of 0.12% alcohol after only three drinks. If he drives immediately or even within a couple of hours, he will be over the legal limit of 0.08% ABV.

Disclaimer: The above "tests" are far from exact, and every person is different. You should not definitively rely on such a "test" to determine if you are intoxicated. Further, you can be arrested for DUI even if you are technically under the legal limit.

Consult a Cobb County DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia, contact an experienced Cobb County DUI attorney to defend your case.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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