Alcohol Content


At Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services (BDAS), located in Lexington, Kentucky and Denver, Colorado, we’re ready to answer all your questions having to do with alcohol content. We’re passionate about the science associated with distilling and brewing. Alcoholic beverages like spirits and beers are subject to numerous regulations and standards. To meet these requirements, alcohol content must be analyzed by a professionally accredited laboratory, such as BDAS, which is TTB certified in wine, spirits, and beer.
Gin, bourbon, whiskey, vodka, tequila, and liqueurs are distilled so they have a higher concentration of alcohol content by volume. It’s important that these products are accurately tested to determine the alcohol content, especially when sugars or other flavors are added. The alcohol industry needs to maintain its momentum and continue to build trust with its customers as the US goes through its largest volume gain in over two decades. This growth is attributed to growing consumer demand, stemming from factors like flavor variety as well as convenience, and with the many choices now available to consumers, maintaining a quality product is essential.
There is a choice of different methods to determine the ethanol content in alcohol. When it comes to analytics, BDAS sets the standard for quality control. In our quality control and labeling testing at our BDAS facilities, we use alcohol by volume (ABV) testing, which is a measure of the alcohol content in a specific volume of a beverage. This test determines how many milliliters of ethanol are present in 100 milliliters of a liquid. ABV testing is an unequalled standard for measuring alcohol content in an alcoholic beverage. Three popular techniques for measuring alcohol content include densitometry, distillation, and gas chromatography.
It is absolutely necessary that finished products contain the optimum strength of alcohol. This is because the government has stringent specifications on proof of different liquor products and, also, because taxes are paid based on the alcohol content. Alcohol content is an important characteristic of a beverage alcohol product, and it can influence the sensory profile, product stability, and solubility of compounds. Our lab at Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services (BDAS) provides alcohol testing as well as extensive testing of bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin and rum, beer, wine, distilled spirits, cider alcohol, apple cider alcohol, seltzers, and RTDs. Our chemists are certified, and participate in proficiency testing to remain in compliance by the certifying body. Our qualified team of laboratory technicians and specialists use a wide range of testing methods accompanied by state-of-the-art equipment in our laboratory.

Most distilled spirits have a target specification of 40.0% alcohol by volume (ABV), with tolerances set by government regulations. For the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the specification is 40.0% plus or minus 0.30% alcohol by volume, which results in a very small target range of 39.70 to 40.30%.
For more information about alcohol content at Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services (BDAS), contact us in Lexington, Kentucky at (859) 278-2533 or in Denver, Colorado at (720) 450-7066.