Monday February 18, 2019 Q&A

Does drinking beer before (rather than after) wine really prevent you from getting a hangover?


1 Yes, it reduces the effects of a hangover by 60%

2 No, that’s an old wives’ tale with no scientific basis

3 Yes, but only if you drink the two kinds of alcohol in the same a

Correct answer: No, that’s an old wives’ tale with no scientific basis.

“Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer.” This saying – known to bar hoppers around the world – implies that you can avoid a nasty hangover the next morning if you hit the beer bottle before the wine bottle. But scientists at Cambridge University and Witten/Herdecke University have just disproven that theory. Their study, appearing in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, not only shows that the order in which you consume the different kinds of alcohol doesn’t matter, it also dispels the myth about not combining them: “Grape or grain but never the twain.”

In their randomized controlled trial, they divided participants into three groups. The first drank beer, then wine; the second drank wine, then beer; and the third drank only wine or only beer. One week later, the test was repeated but the kinds of alcohol were reversed: the first group drank wine and then beer; the second, beer then wine; and the third switched from wine to beer and vice-versa.

The day after each session, participants were asked to rate the intensity of their hangover and associated symptoms like fatigue, thirst, nausea, and loss of appetite. The results showed no clear link between hangover intensity and the order in which the alcohol was consumed; participants reported the same level of intensity after each session. However, two factors did seem to play a role in how poorly participants felt the next day: vomiting and perceived drunkenness both served as predictors of a bad hangover.

It’s worth mentioning that during each session, participants could stop drinking when they wanted or if the scientists were concerned about their safety. Participants also ate beforehand and were screened to make sure they did not take any drugs and were in good health. The beer served was a chilled premium Pilsner lager (5% alcohol by volume), and the wine was a high-quality organic white wine.