Here's what you need to know about 'alcosynth'

26th Mar 19 | Lifestyle

Imagine getting drunk, without any of the insidious side-effects of alcohol.

Caucasian mature man in white t-shirt does not want to get up in the morning

There might just be a future where it will be possible to drink wine, feel drunk, but not wake up parched, headachy and regretful the morning after.

That is the hope of the team of scientists and researchers behind Alcarelle, who are set on developing an alternative synthetic alcohol (or ‘alcosynth’) drink technology.

But what is it? Here’s the lowdown, courtesy of David Orren, Alcarelle’s managing director…

What is Alcarelle’s aim?

“We’ve been working on a series of compounds that are designed specifically to produce and mimic some of the good things about alcohol, and not the bad.

“Alcarelle is an ingredient that would be manufactured and then sold to drinks companies, licensed to ingredients companies, and then distributed to the global drinks industry. Brands would then develop new products, and they would use this as an ingredient in ‘free-from ethanol’ adult drinks, mixing it with any formulations that made sense for their particular consumer.”

What problems are you hoping to help combat?

“We know that alcohol kills more than 3 million people a year [according to the World Health Organisation]. The Lancet report from the British Medical Association has confirmed that alcohol is a leading killer within different age groups; it’s the leading driver for disease in men in Britain at the moment, and that’s largely because of acetaldehyde. We know that alcohol – ethanol – can grow into  acetaldehyde in the body, which then circulates. It’s a toxic chemical, a cancerous chemical – a grade 1 carcinogenic – that causes the brain and liver to shrink, and causes premature ageing.

“Alcohol also has a high calorie content as a product. For certain groups of women, it represents 50% of the calories they ingest; it’s the leading controllable cause of breast cancer; there are seven known cancers alcohol creates, and it’s also responsible for more than 200 known diseases.

“Alcohol is a very serious problem, it also causes obesity and a lot of distress, addiction and so on, so our goal is to make something that doesn’t lead to  acetaldehyde.”

When could it be available to the general public?

“Doctor David Notts has been working on this for about 15 years, and Alcarelle was formed three years ago. It’s a long-run because there’s a lot of science involved, there’s a lot of safety testing and regulatory frameworks we have to be compliant to, so we expect [it will be available and have gotten through the safety processes] five years from now.”

What happens next?

“What we need to now demonstrate is that the compounds are also safe, and that involves a series of trials and testing.

“We want to work with major polling companies to understand what consumers really want, we also need to talk to ingredients and drinks companies about how they would want to engage.”

So say hello to your new hangover free life – it’ll just kick in five years from now.

© Press Association 2019