I have a friend who works at a company that chemically manipulates the taste, texture etc of food products.
Her company was in the process of creating a new version of a well-known alcopop containing vodka that would increase its highest-alcohol version from alcohol content of around 7% to 10%. The 7% version was a triumph in flavour engineering. Apparently my friend’s company laboured over the precise formula of food acids, alcohol, sugar and the like to make it readily palatable without much of an alcoholic flavour. It is still available although the alcohol content has been slightly lowered.
When it came to the crunch amid the media hysteria over binge drinking and the new taxes on alcopop, the distiller decided to abandon plans for the 10% version. From personal experience the 7% version is like drinking lemonade and before you know it you’re drunk. The fact that it contains carbonated water also helps to open the valve between the stomach and small intestine (small colon), allowing for rapid intoxication without stomach bloating associated with, say, beer. One step behind injecting pure alcohol.
Before my friend told me about the company scrapping the project for the 10% version I knew that it would be lethal and result in adverse publicity for the company and I suspect such concerns were involved in the abandonment.
As a footnote I’ll mention that a pub in Newtown has been selling the drink with a 70% hike on its full sale price - not a 70% increase in tax - resulting in it selling the product for $28 per four-pack compared to $18 at other outlets.