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“It feels like what a glass of wine feels like,” says Dr. David Nutt, chief scientific officer at London-based GABA Labs. “It feels relaxing. It makes you a bit more chatty, a bit more socially engaged with people.” That's Alcarelle, Nutt's new synthetic alcohol which targets GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain, releasing feel-good dopamine and serotonin but nothing more. Designed for nonalcoholic drinks, Alcarelle has no flavor and promises to get you tipsy without the headache. Nutt's GABA labs aims to complete U.S. food-safety testing by mid-2026 and launch in European markets soon thereafter. Here's to clear-headed drinking!
More Beverage News
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The pandemic was good for cocktail sales, which rose 42% to $1.6 billion in 2021, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US. That's due in part to 16 states passing laws that made to-go cocktails permanent. Consumers also developed a taste for high-end spirits as they tried to replicate restaurant-quality drinks at home. As a result of our predilection for booze, the Council's new report shows that 82% of US consumers now prefer ordering cocktails at restaurants because "they taste better than beer."
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Modelo Especial is currently "the number one" beer in America, its US distributor said, after sales data showed it outsold longtime industry leader Bud Light. Modelo Especial store sales topped $333 million in May, a 15.6% rise over the same period last year, compared with Bud Light's $297 million, a 22.8% fall, according to Circana/IRI data. Bud Light's sales have been declining since April when the brand collaborated with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney, a partnership that sparked a conservative boycott. The rejection is working, yet Bud Light remains the top-selling beer brand in America for 2023 overall, according to NielsenIQ. We'll see how things end up once the NFL season gets underway.
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"Add some water to open up the flavors" goes the scotch adage. But how much is too much? Thank God we have scientists to quantify the answers to such questions. Researchers at Washington State University chemically analyzed how volatile compounds in 25 whiskies from aged bourbon to single-malt scotch responded to added water. A trained sensory panel found that up to 20% added water produced characteristically different smells in the whiskies. However, adding more than 20% water reduced the number of smells to just a familiar few. Something to keep in mind as the ice melts in your summer cocktail.
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In 2022, hop yields were down 40% in Czechia, 21% in Germany, and 12% in the US. To ensure a sufficient supply of the flowers essential to beer-making, Spanish company Enokoke has begun growing hydroponic hops under LED lights in Madrid warehouses. Its systems aren't subject to climate change and use about 95% less water than traditional outdoor farming. A limited edition IPA using Ekonoke's hops is already on tap in a Madrid bar and one of its funders, industry giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, calls the venture "very promising."