One of the many questions that people ask about Guinness 0.0 is can you drink it and drive. It looks and tastes like Guinness and not everyone understands what “alcohol by volume is” so how many is too many before you drive home?
You would need to drink anywhere from x150-300 Guinness 0.0 cans over 1-2 hours before you would get your blood alcohol concentration high enough (0.08%) to blow a positive breathalyser and get a DUI. This is impossible to do so you can drink as many as you like and drive home safely.
150-300 Guinness 0.0, that is a colossal amount but is that the same for everyone? Not quite but read of for a review of all types of driver.
Can i drink Guinness 0.0 and drive? Will i get a DUI?
Right at the start of this, before i do some calculations about how many drinks you can drink and then drive whilst under the legal limit, i want to say don’t drink any alcohol and drive. Guinness 0.0 doesn’t have any alcohol with talking about so it is ok.
What is the legal drink driving limit?
To be legal to drive your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) has to be below 0.08% for most people in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.
How many Guinness 0.0 can the average driver drink.
Ive previous written about how many Guinness 0.0 it would take to get near intoxicated which has the same legal BAC of 0.08%. You can read that article here.
From that article i worked out that drinking x2 Standard beers (12 fl oz and 5% ABV), over 1-2 hours, might get your BAC to 0.4-0.6%+ depending on lots of other person characteristics. That translated into roughly x142 Guinness 0.0 500ml cans.
If you are a 100lb female who doesn’t drink, drinking 142 Guinness 0.0 might get your BAC to 0.08% but i large adult male who drinks a lot might need at least double that.
It works out at needing to drink a 500ml can of Guinness 0.0 every minute for 2hrs, likely even faster than that, just to feel the effects of alcohol. That just can’t happen.
In the US, not every driver has the flat 0.08% BAC legal limit.
A commercial driver must have a BAC of under 0.04% and a level of 0.02-0.04% means they cant drive for 24hrs.
In some states there are zero tolerance laws meaning anything from 0.00-0.02% can be illegal if you are under 21 (the legal age to drink)
|Category of driver||Allowable BAC|
|Under 21||Either 0 or <0.02%|
Clearly commercial drivers and under 21s will be able to drink a lot less of anything containing alcohol before they might blow a positive.
|Class of driver||Standard drink limit (very conservative)||Guinness 0.0 limit (500ml can)|
|Under 21 ZT||0.25||18|
My under 21 limits are only for illustration purposes only. Guinness 0.0 and indeed all alcohol free drinks are marketed and sold to adults over the legal drinking age.
It is true that legally the could be sold to someone under the legal drinking age but as my article here explains, that doesn’t generally happen.
That said, a 20 year old, drinking Guinness 0.0 in his own house with parental consent, would be able to drink 18+ over 1-2 hours and still not be over their very low legal driving limit.
Ive written a full article on all non alcoholic drinks and driving. All the maths is done for you. Click here to read
How does Guinness 0.0 compare to the alcohol in common foods?
For a better understanding of just how alcohol free Guinness 0.0 is and why you can drink it and drive we can consider the amount of alcohol in every day, common foods. The type of foods you would never bat an eye lid about eating or drinking and then driving after.
Prepare to be a bit shocked with some of the numbers you will see later…
What causes food to have alcohol in it?
Food has alcohol in it if ethanol fermentation has happened.
Ethanol Fermentation is the conversion of carbohydrates (think sugars) to ethanol (alcohol) and or other organic acids.
It is carried out by either yeasts or bacteria under anaerobic conditions. Anaerobic just means, in the absence of oxygen.
Yeasts convert sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. This is often a natural process as there are lots of wild yeasts out there that live on the surfaces of food.
In the past, most if not all wine and beer production was reliant on wild yeast colonising and naturally fermenting sweet drinks.
The other method for ethanol fermentation is via bacteria. Bacteria can ferment sugars to produce energy. Instead they produce sour acids like lactic acid.
Which common foods have alcohol in them?
Below is a table of common foods and why they contain alcohol, they are more prevalent than you think and you probably eat multiples of them each day without realising it.
|Fruits||Contain fructose. Unwashed fruits also have have levels of wild yeasts on their skin for natural fermentation|
|Breads||Most bread has heated added to produce carbon dioxide and raise it via bubbles in the dough. The by product is ethanol|
|Yogurts||Bacteria turn milk into yogurt. It tastes slightly sour as lactic acid is produced but so is ethanol|
|Pickled vegetables||Pickled vegetables such as kimchi use the sour acids of bacteria as preserving agents|
Now for the numbers. The table below is from a study looking at the maximum alcohol levels of various foods.
Remember that Guinness 0.0 has a maximum ABV of 0.05% and compare it to all these foods. Would you worry about driving after orange juice or eating a banana? I think not.
|Type of food||Highest alcohol content (ABV) in percent %|
|Alcohol free drink||0.05%|
|Non alcoholic drink||0.5%|
|Grape juice (red)||0.86%|
|White wine vinegar||2.64%|
|Sweet milk rolls||1.21%|
For a full article about how much alcohol is in common foods, click here to read my article.
Ive written an article with all the common questions about Guinness 0.0 and all the answers for you. If you need any more information then have a look by following this link