For anyone who’s experienced the vision-blurring head pain after a night of heavy drinking, we have an important announcement: A scientist in London has created a synthetic version of alcohol that contains no toxins and leaves you with absolutely no hangover.
That scientist is one David Nutt, the director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit at Imperial College London, who has created a liquid called Alcarelle which stimulates the same receptors in the brain as alcohol but without all the bad stuff that harms your organs and makes you feel icky the next morning (hat tip to The Guardian). Nutt and his team have been developing Alcarelle for several years, and think it could be on the market in as soon as five years from now.
Hopefully, that will give them some time to improve the taste of the elixir, which they currently mask with the help of fruit juice. The real hurdle, however, won’t be flavor. It’ll be getting the new technology to pass regulatory muster. Nutt told the Guardian that he expects Alcarelle will be regulated as a food additive or ingredient, so it’ll go through food regulations rather than clinical trials. That will speed things up, but they’ll still need to create their own drink product with a unique bottle for testing, which usually takes at least three years. Since Alcarelle isn’t just another flavor of beverage but a whole new beast, it’ll likely take more.
In the end, Nutt and his team want to sell Alcarelle to other drinks companies as their active ingredient. But as we said, regulatory red tape means that that likely won’t happen for a while.
However, Nutt is smart to be getting into the “better booze” market right now. Millennials and Gen Z are drinking less than their parents, at least in the U.S, while sales of nonalcoholic beverages — like seltzers or booze-free cocktails — are on the rise.
A big reason behind this shift is the burgeoning wellness culture. Consumers still want the benefits of alcohol — relaxation, social lubrication, etc. — but don’t want the negative health effects. That’s why there’s a growing interest in alternative intoxicants like cannabis beer. Alcarelle can, at least in theory, give people the reduced inhibitions they want at the end of a long workday without contradicting their wellness-focused lifestyle.
If and when that happens, you can bet this reporter will be first in line to try it.