How is alcohol being made?

In order to make any alcoholic beverage, some form of fermentable sugar is needed.

  • In wine the sugar comes from crushed grapes.
  • Beer gets its fermentable sugar by using cereal grain such as malted barley, wheat or sorghum
  • Spirits use a variety of different sources of sugar, depending on the type of spirit, for example:
  • Vodka gets its sugar from potato or grains
  • Whiskey gets its sugar from grains such as barley, corn, rye or wheat
  • Tequila gets its sugar from a Mexican native plant called Blue Agave
  • Sambucca uses pure sugar to make alcohol

Although the alcohol itself (ethanol) is the same in all alcoholic beverages, the type of sugar that is used and the process of producing the beverage, as well as what it is mixed with, will affect the flavour and consistency of the drink, alcohol content, and nutritional content such as carbohydrate or protein.

How do alcohol drinks compare?

We know that many people enjoy a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, often based on their taste, the occasion or the fact that they are pairing their drinks with a meal. Although you may have a favourite alcohol drink, you may also choose to drink something different on certain occasions.

So here are some examples of the nutritional content of different types of beverage from the USA. All of the values in this comparison are for 100ml servings and are sourced from the US Department of Agriculture nutrient database.

Type of Drink Energy (Kcal/100ml) Alcohol (ABV) Fat (g/100ml) of which saturates (g/100ml) Carbohydrate (g/100ml) Sugar (g/100ml) Protein (g/100ml) Sodium (mg/100ml)
Beer (regular) 43,0 4,9 0,0 0,0 3,6 0,0 0,5 4,0
Beer (light) 29,0 3,9 0,0 0,0 1,6 0,1 0,2 4,0
Non-Alcoholic Beer (called malt beverage in the USA) 37,0 0,0 0,1 - 8,1 8,1 0,2 13,0
Red Wine 84,0 13,3 0,0 0,0 2,6 0,6 0,1 4,0
White Wine 81,0 12,9 0,0 0,0 2,6 1,0 0,1 5,0
Vodka 217,0 39,8 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 1,0
Whiskey 235,0 42,8 0,0 0,0 0,1 0,1 0,0 0,0
Gin & tonic 119,2 16,9 0,0 0,0 6,8 6,8 0,0 10,1
Rum & Diet Cola 81,2 14,9 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,0 0,1 4,2