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Craft Beer and an Arizona DUI

Posted by Shawn B. Hamp | Aug 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

The craft beer industry has seen an incredible boom over the last few years thanks to the ever-changing tastes of the American beer consumer. Along with that boom in craft beer sales has come a corresponding increase in the average alcohol content of the beer itself. Higher alcohol content has become increasingly popular, with some beers making their high alcohol content a selling point.

These stronger beers often have the unanticipated effect of getting you more intoxicated much more quickly that one "normal" beer otherwise would. As a result, you could be driving under the influence without ever expecting that one or two beers could do that to you.

If you or someone you care for has been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona, contact an experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney for help with your case. Remember, just because you are charged with a crime does not mean that you are guilty.

What is ABV?

Alcohol by volume (ABV) is a standard measurement of how much alcohol (ethanol) is within a given alcoholic beverage. This measurement is expressed in the form of a percentage and is usually labeled on the bottle of the beverage. As the craft beer industry has continued to grow, brewers are exploring beers with higher and higher ABV's, prompting a mini-culture of high alcohol content brews.

Along with that boom in craft beer sales has come a corresponding increase in the average alcohol content of the beer itself.

For example, typical light beers popular here in the United States have an average ABV of 4.2%, including:

  • Miller Light
  • Michelob Ultra
  • Coors Light
  • Bud Light
  • Guinness Draught.

These are the types of beers you may be used to. But "light" beers are not the only beers close to this ABV percentage. Other popular beers are slightly above this percentage, falling somewhere between 4.2% and 5.0%. Examples of these other non-light and non-craft but popular beers include:

  • Budweiser - 4.2%
  • Corona Extra - 4.6%
  • Dos Equis - 4.8%
  • Killian's - 4.9%
  • Sam Adam's Boston Lager - 4.8%.

Typical ABV's mean that you likely have an understanding of how many beers you can drink before you feel alcohol's intoxicating effects. However, with craft beer, these averages are thrown out the window.

Craft Beer and Increasing ABV

Craft beer brewers both intentionally and unintentionally create beers with higher alcohol content levels than typical commercial beers that are on the market. Why? Because they can. There is a market for it, and people enjoy beers that are brewed in a way that makes it stronger.

When drinking craft beer, you must be careful to consider the ABV of the beer you are consuming. Many craft beers have ABV's of around 8% but can easily go to 11% or higher. Some examples include:

  • Canadian Breakfast Stout - 11.7%
  • Double Sunshine IPA - 8.0%
  • Duck Duck Gooze - 7.0%
  • Barrel Aged Imperial German Chocolate Cupcake Stout - 11.0%.

As you can see, these beers have double or higher ABV than your commercial beer. This means that one glass of craft beer can be equivalent to two glasses of commercial beer. Just because you usually feel ok driving after a few Budweisers, the same will not hold true when drinking craft beer.

Disclaimer: Everyone is different, so your blood alcohol content (BAC) levels will rise differently than others. Also, Arizona has very strict DUI laws. You can be charged with DUI even if you are under the legal limit.

Consult a DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with DUI in Arizona, an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp can represent you in your defense.

We serve clients in Mohave, Yavapai, La Paz, and Coconino Counties, including the communities of Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Parker, Prescott, Williams, and Flagstaff, Arizona. Contact us today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Shawn B. Hamp

President and lead counsel for The Hamp Law Offices, LLC (An Arizona Professional Corporation), Shawn Hamp has practiced law for more than 15 years with an emphasis in criminal law. An experienced trial attorney, Mr. Hamp has been lead counsel in hundreds of criminal trials and court...


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