Beer VS Wine: Let's Settle This

While there are numerous types of alcohol in the world, the split between beer and wine drinkers is one of the most pronounced. Every drinker has their personal preferences that come into play, but that hasn't stopped people from debating on which one is the superior option. Safe to say, these arguments can be complicated to reach a definitive conclusion.

However, we've spent too much time without a clear victor. It's time to dig in deep and determine which drink is the superior of the two. Get ready to pit wine vs. beer against each other, because only one of the two is going to come out on top!


Since flavors can vary wildly even within their respective categories, we're not going to use that as any standard of judgment. People have different palates after all, and both beer and wine can grow on you the more you drink it. With that off the table, the alternative option is to focus on much more concrete elements, like calorie count.

Since alcoholic drinks have different standards for what needs to go on their nutritional labels than other things we eat and drink, it can be tricky to pull up just how many calories a serving of your favorite spirit has – and the variation between brands doesn't help. In general, you can expect a spirited drink to have some combination of alcohol, sugar, and even fat calories inside.

wine vs beer inforgraphic

On average, a bottle of red wine has about 750 calories, while a six-pack of beer has around 900 calories. Just from that, wine seems to have an edge in the health department—and that advantage continues if you break them up into servings.

Someone who drinks one standard six-ounce glass of wine will still intake fewer calories than someone who drinks one fourteen-ounce pint of beer. Of course, there's still plenty of room for variation in these numbers. For example, a serving of dessert wine will have much more calories than a glass of light beer. It depends on the type you're drinking.

Intoxication Speed

While there are numerous reasons for recreational drinking, many of us enjoy the sensation of feeling a buzz and relaxing. Even though standard servings of both beer and wine have a similar alcohol content, that alone isn't all that affects who quickly you start to feel intoxicated. The exact composition of a drink will impact how quickly it enters your bloodstream.

When it comes to the same amount of alcohol for wine vs. beer, alcohol will enter the bloodstream much faster when drinking wine, reaching a peak of blood alcohol content 54 minutes after drinking. Beer takes a bit more time, needing roughly 62 minutes to reach peak levels in the blood. For a little more context, when compared to other types of alcoholic drinks, spirits enter the bloodstream much faster.

Now, as for how that impacts which is the superior drink, that's up to your preferences. Someone who wants to loosen up may appreciate wine's fast reaction times. However, others may want to avoid such embarrassment and agree that beer's slower intoxication time is a benefit. As for how they stack up for us, we're giving beers the point since it makes it easier to drink responsibly after several pints.

Carbohydrates And Other Nutrients

Calorie count plays an essential role in many people's dietary efforts, but it's not the only thing that people need to consider. Many diets recommend cutting back on or cutting out carbohydrates to help improve health. Putting aside whether that's the most effective way towards eating healthier or losing weight, it's still a critical factor to consider for many.

The short answer when it comes to this topic is that both beer and wine have some amount of carbohydrates in them; there's no way around it. However, on average, a serving of wine has much fewer carbs than one of beer. Again, these levels can vary depending on just what type of drink you have, but there are distinctions between other kinds of crucial nutrients between the two:

  • Beers have higher levels of protein, phosphorus, and magnesium
  • Wines have higher levels of potassium
  • Both drinks have roughly the same levels of total fat and calcium

When you compare these numbers, beer is more nutritionally, containing mostly higher levels of the recommended daily values of many nutrients per serving. This comparison is another close line to draw, as for which one is better for you will depend on your exact nutritional needs and other dietary habits.

Health Benefits

Aside from nutritional value, wine and beer have other ingredients that can aid in promoting one's health. For example, red wines with high tannin values help provide the body with procyanidins, which help protect against the onset of heart disease. Beer, on the other hand, contains significant amounts of dietary silicon, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis and improves bone density.

health benefits of beer and wine

The key to these health benefits is regularly drinking, but still moderately. Yes, regular consumption of wine or beer can help improve your health. However, it's vital that that consumption doesn't become excessive. When anyone drinks in large amounts over a lengthy amount of time, then they put themselves at risk for the health deficits that can come from overindulging in alcohol.

Other relevant health impacts for the wine vs. beer argument include:

  • Germany's Commission E has approved beer as a way to treat restlessness, sleep disturbances, and anxiet
  • Wine contains resveratrol, which can reduce the effects of aging
  • Excessive amounts of both beer and wine can cause liver damage
  • Wine can demineralize your teeth's enamel due to its acidic composition

Impact On Weight

The idea of a beer belly isn't a foreign concept to anyone that drinks alcohol. And with the higher calorie and carbohydrate counts, it's easy to see where this idea originated. Sugars in alcoholic drinks also have an impact on how our bodies retain fat and start to gain weight. So where does wine stack up in comparison?

In some recent studies, the results show that neither beer or wine drinkers gain any significant weight over the short term. These studies, however, only work to identify shorter timeframes that last no longer than ten weeks. It's likely that even a minimal increase in weight throughout that length could easily add up to substantial gain over the years.

From what we can see, there are only very slim differences in weight gain over the short term between beer and wine drinkers. However, without any long-term studies for concrete data, we don't know how just how differently regular drinking over the years could influence weight. Based on the calorie information alone, wine may have the advantage in this category.

Hangover Symptoms

Anyone that drinks regularly is likely to deal with hangover symptoms at some point in their lives. Across different types of alcohol, some can give more severe hangover symptoms. This result generally happens with more heavier types of drinks, such as darker bourbon over plain vodka.

When it comes to wine and beer, similar amounts of alcohol intake don't seem to have too much variation in hangover symptoms. While we don't know everything that potentially causes hangovers, it seems that there isn't too much of a distinction when it comes to the next day impact of wine and beer.

Of course, every drinker is different in how they experience hangovers, and this category is a bit more ambiguous. There's also the fact that someone who drinks a lot more in one sitting will likely have greater hangover symptoms than someone who only has one drink and then stops. But against comparable levels of intake, the two seem to draw even.

Wine VS Beer: Who's The Victor?

When you compare wine and beer side by side, there's a lot of categories where they pull even. From a caloric and carbohydrates perspective, wine comes out on top with having less of both. These factors may give it the advantage when it comes to weight gain over time, though we don't have any in definitive studies that can help make the call.

On the other end of the health spectrum, though, beer has a much more comprehensive range of nutrients in it, making it much closer to food than wine. However, wine also provides some nutrients that beer doesn't have, such as procyanidins. Both types of alcohol have the risk of causing potential health complications if drank in excess.

When it comes to other categories, drinking wine lets alcohol into the bloodstream more quickly than a comparable serving of beer. With other factors notwithstanding, you become intoxicated at a faster rate drinking wine. Despite this difference, both drinks seem to cause the same level of hangover symptoms.

It's a close call between the two since they're so closely neck in neck with each other. However, we're crowning wine as the victorious drink, as it has slightly better health benefits than beer does. When it comes down to it, though, both alcohols will continue to attract drinkers of every kind for different occasions. Whether you're on team wine with us or not, the important thing is to drink responsibly.