All Drinks Are Equal

Statement on the Concept of Equivalence of Alcoholic Beverages in Alcohol Policy & Regulation

The effects of alcohol consumption depend on the drinking pattern, not on the strength (ABV) or type of an alcoholic drink.

spiritsEUROPE believes that the most effective way to regulate all categories of alcoholic beverages to promote moderate drinking and tackle alcohol misuse, is in a fair and non-discriminatory manner, because alcohol content of a standard drink of beer, wine or distilled spirits has the same impact on the human body. Differentiation based on the type of beverage or their strength distorts consumer choice, the Single Market and public health outcomes. 

The principle of equivalence as the basis for alcohol regulation is borne out of the following considerations:

  • drinking outcomes depend on patterns of consumption and are independent of the strength (ABV) or provenance of the alcoholic drink involved;
  • moderate drinking can be associated with all beverage types – beer, wine & spirits;
  • all types of alcoholic beverages, regardless of their production process or ABV, can be associated with harmful drinking patterns.

We are calling on governments to:

  • apply the guiding principle of fair and non-discriminatory treatment of all alcoholic drinks categories for effective and sustainable alcohol regulation;
  • establish and promote drinking guidelines based on the concept of standard drink equivalence in order to promote moderate drinking and to reduce harmful use of alcohol.


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