Yeah, we know, breaking news headline there. But it’s the exact nature of this human stupidity that interests us in the alcohol industry. In this case, a new study has once again shown how powerful the placebo effect is when it comes to drinking.

So what did those crazy scientists try this time?

They told a bunch of young guys that they were going to be drinking cocktails made of energy drinks, vodka, and fruit juice. Then they actually gave them all the same thing, but placed in glasses that had one of three different labels: Red Bull & vodka, vodka cocktail, or fruit juice cocktail. Presumably, they then hid behind a two-way mirror to laugh at the participants.


  • Guys who had the Red Bull label on their cocktail reported levels of perceived intoxication 51% higher than the other groups. It also increased their intention to talk to women, confidence that the women would be receptive, and willingness to take risks in a gambling game.
  • The overestimated perceived intoxication was particularly high in men who expressed the belief that energy drinks increase the effect of alcohol.

So, solely based on marketing (i.e. the label), people thought they were getting way more drunk than they were. In a pleasant surprise, the overestimators did also indicate an intention to wait longer before driving. Fool me once, blame the label?

Sensing a marketing/sales opportunity here? Let us know, and we’ll get you all set up with the correct TABC liquor licensing permit in no time!

SOURCE: PsychCentral.