Can i drink Heineken 0.0 and drive? Will i get a DUI?

Heineken 0.0 i bought and drank for this article

One of the many questions that people ask about Heineken 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 x200-400 Heineken 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.

400 Heineken 0.0 is just an impossible amount to drink but so is 200. The exact amount differs from person to person but we can work off generalisations for the most part.

Can i drink Heineken 0.0 and drive? Will i get a DUI?

Before we jump into this topic, which includes some calculations for what you might theoretically be able to drink and drive with, i want to say don’t drink any alcohol and drive. Heineken 0.0 doesn’t have any alcohol with talking about so it is ok.

These calculations are for information only and to highlight how safe Heineken 0.0 is.

What is the legal drink driving limit?

In most of the developed world (USA, UK, Australia etc), to be legal to drive your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) has to be below 0.08%.

How many Heineken 0.0 can the average driver drink.

This topic is closely linked to my article about if Heineken 0.0 can get you drunk. You can read that 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 x200 Heineken 0.0 12fl oz cans.

In a fantasy world where you can drink any amount of fluid, a small woman might “only” need to drink 200 Heineken 0.0 to get drunk but i might take a large adult male like myself up to 400 Heineken 0.0.

200 Heineken 0.0 works out at needing to drink 5 cans of Heineken 0.0 every 3 minutes for 2hrs, likely even faster than that, just to feel the effects of alcohol. That just can’t happen. 

Special situations

If you live in the USA you will likely know that not all drivers are under the same rules.

A commercial driver must have a BAC of under 0.04% and if they have a BAC 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 driverAllowable BAC
Under 21Either 0 or <0.02%
Commercial <0.04%
Over 21<0.08%
USA Drivers and BAC

The obvious conclusion is commercial drivers and under 21s will be able to drink a lot less of anything alcohol containing before possibly being over the drink driving limit.

Class of driverStandard drink limit (very conservative)Heineken 0.0 limit (12fl oz)
Over 212200
Under 21 ZT0.2525
Drinks limit for driving

My under 21 limits are only for illustration purposes only. Heineken 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.

If a 20 year old is drinking Heineken 0.0 in his own house with parental consent, they would be able to drink 25 Heineken 0.0 over 1-2 hours and still not be over their very low legal driving limit. That is still likely more than they could if they were trying making an accidental positive all but impossible.

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 Heineken 0.0 compare to the alcohol in common foods?

I know when i explain these numbers to my friends, I’m often told “well 0.05% isn’t really alcohol free, there is still alcohol in it”

To show just how minimal 0.05% ABV is we can look at types of foods you would never bat an eye lid about eating or drinking and then driving after.

I think a few people might be shocked with the next section of information!

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.

Food stuffComments
FruitsContain fructose. Unwashed fruits also have have levels of wild yeasts on their skin for natural fermentation
BreadsMost bread has heated added to produce carbon dioxide and raise it via bubbles in the dough. The by product is ethanol
YogurtsBacteria turn milk into yogurt. It tastes slightly sour as lactic acid is produced but so is ethanol
Pickled vegetablesPickled vegetables such as kimchi use the sour acids of bacteria as preserving agents
Foods containing alcohol

Now for the numbers. The table below is from a study looking at the maximum alcohol levels of various foods.

Remember that Heineken 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 foodHighest alcohol content (ABV) in percent %
Alcohol free drink0.05%
Non alcoholic drink0.5%
Grape juice (red)0.86%
Apple juice0.66%
Orange juice0.73%
White wine vinegar2.64%
Wheat roll0.14%
Burger roll1.28%
Rye Bread0.2%
Sweet milk rolls1.21%
Ripe Banana0.4%
Ripe Pear0.04%
Alcohol content of food

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 Heineken 0.0 and all the answers for you. If you need any more information then have a look by following this link

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