• Patrick Thomas Santos, Esq

Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) Blood Alcohol Levels Higher Than Ever: IPA Beers To Blame?

By the time you finish reading this sentence, Americans will have taken thousands of sips from craft beers. It’s after 5:00 p.m. somewhere, so what’s in your cup? When it comes to beer, there is endless variety. With this many choices, we will never agree on a favorite, so let’s start off with what we can agree on - beer is good.

Humans have been drinking wine for about 8,000 years, but beers have only been around for 5,000 years. In the United States, one out of every two alcoholic drink consumed is a beer. Americans love their brewskis, and every state has its own favorite. The English drink Carlsberg like water, but in the US, Anheuser-Busch owns nearly 50% of the domestic market share.

What is the Alcohol Content of Beer?

The alcohol content of beer is calculated in alcohol by volume (“ABV”). The percentage of ABV represents the amount of ethanol present within one hundred milliliters of the beverage. Beers can range between 5% to 14% ABV, and vary with Lager, Stout, Brown Ale, Pale Ale, and “IPA” (India Pale Ale).

In the US, one out of every two domestic beers sold is a Bud Light, with an ABV of 4.1%. Los Angeles County residents may prefer a Tecate, with a 4.4% ABV, or a Dos Equis XX, with 4.8%.

Thought in Great Britain to make Americans violent, Budweiser contains 5%. Maybe you’ve seen the “it’s beer man” Red Stripe commercials, also with 5% ABV. The popular Blue Moon has 5.4% ABV, similar to the Fat Tire, with 5.3% ABV, or the Heineken, with 5.4%.

What is an IPA?

IPA is short for India Pale Ale, which has 6.7% ABV. Simple math proves that having one IPA is almost the equivalent of having two Bud Lights. Two IPAs is almost four Bud Lights, three is almost six, etc.

It’s no secret that many craft beer enthusiasts have a deep appreciation - - bordering on cult-like obsession - - for a highly-hopped IPA. 2014 even saw an IPA Day in August. We would never tell you not to drink an IPA, instead, we are only emphasizing the numbers.

Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) of IPA

If you’ve had even one IPA, never get behind the wheel of a car. In defending DUI cases over the last seven years, The Law Office of Patrick Santos has seen an average increase in blood alcohol content levels. 2012 and 2013 saw substantial increase in sales of IPA (you might have noticed your favorite bar began to have it on tap), as did 2014 and 2015.

More and more, when a client’s blood alcohol level is more than twice the legal limit of .08%, more often than not, we find IPA played a role.

Patrick Thomas Santos is a California Attorney

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