Taste of beer ‘prompts chemical desire’

16th April, 2013 by Andy Young

A study by researchers at Indiana University has found that the taste of beer releases a chemical in the brain which makes people want to drink more.

A pint of beerThe study found that beer’s taste, without any effect from alcohol, can trigger the brain to produce dopamine – a neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s reward and pleasure centres.

Dr David Kareken, deputy director of the Indiana Alcohol Research Centre, said: “We believe this is the first experiment in humans to show that the taste of an alcoholic drink alone, without any intoxicating effect from the alcohol, can elicit this dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centres.”

People with a family history of alcoholism also showed even higher levels of dopamine which, Dr Kareken added, may suggest that the risk of alcoholism could be inherited.

During the study researchers scanned the brains of 49 men while they tasted beer and then when they tasted the sports drink Gatorade. Each man was given just 15ml of their preferred beer over a 15-minute period, so they would not feel the effects of alcohol.

The results revealed significantly more dopamine activity when tasting beer than when tasting Gatorade. The respondents also said that after tasting the beer they craved more, but did not feel the same about the sports drink, even though many said it tasted better.

Dai Stephens, professor of experimental psychology at the University of Sussex, said the paper was “a first convincing demonstration in humans that a drink’s flavour has such effects on the brain.”

But he told the Press Association: “While suggestive, the findings cannot with certainty be ascribed to conditioning. However, more provocatively, the study also suggests that not all beer drinkers show the same effect.”

The study, carried out by Dr Brandon Oberlin and five others from the Indiana University School of Medicine, was published in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Sales Order Processor

Amathus Drinks
Park Royal, London NW10, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

Events & PR Co-ordinator

Alliance Wine
London, UK

Partner Development Manager - That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company
Field Based, UK

Head of Merchant Sales

Grapevine the Wineservice Company
Cumbria, UK

Director of Sales

Matthew Clark
Field based - Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, Berkshire or West Sussex, UK

Business Development Manager – Central London

Marussia Beverages UK Ltd
Field based – London, UK

Account Manager – Premium Restaurants, London

Kingfisher Beer Europe Ltd
London (Central), UK

Field Sales Representative - Beer Innovation

Elastic
Various locations, UK

Events Executive

The Drinks Business
London, UK

Area Sales Executive

Gordon & Macphail
Southern England (excluding London) and Inner London, UK

Buyer – Wine & Spirits

Sipp
London, UK

Spirits Advisor

The Whisky Exchange
London, UK

Marketing Implementation Manager

Matthew Clark
London / Field, UK

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Beer Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Click to view more

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Click to view more