Comparison of blood alcohol concentrations after beer and whiskey

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1993 Jun;17(3):709-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1993.tb00824.x.


To determine whether blood alcohol concentrations achieved by ingestion of various alcoholic beverages differ as a function of prandial state, healthy male volunteers, aged 24 to 48 years, were given the same amount of alcohol (0.3 g/kg) as different beverages. The alcohol was consumed in three prandial states: postprandial (1 hr after a meal, n = 10), prandial (during the meal, n = 10), and preprandial (after an overnight fast, n = 9). Each subject was tested with both beer and whiskey, and in the postprandial state also with wine and sherry, in a within-subjects design. Blood alcohol concentrations were estimated by breath analysis for 4 hr or until concentrations reached zero. Peak blood alcohol levels were higher with beer than with whiskey in the postprandial and prandial conditions (p < 0.01), whereas the opposite was true in the preprandial state (p < 0.05). Similarly, the area under the blood alcohol curve was higher with beer in the prandial state (p < 0.05), and higher with whiskey in the preprandial condition (p < 0.01). Wine and sherry yielded peak concentrations intermediate between those of beer and whiskey in the postprandial state. The results indicate that a dilute alcoholic drink can yield either higher or lower blood alcohol levels than a concentrated beverage, depending on the prandial state.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood*
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Beer*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eating / physiology
  • Ethanol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Fasting / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Ethanol