Uncomfortable Truths About Booze

That the alcohol industry is too afraid to reveal, but you deserve to know

Marina Martinez
7 min readFeb 1, 2019


Photo by Artem Pochepetsky on Unsplash

Humans, as cultural animals, have learned over the years to appreciate and accept alcohol drinking. However, most people are unaware of the real risks and consequences of alcohol on health, society, and life in general. And that may be on purpose.

Here are a few uncomfortable truths that alcohol companies have been avoiding to tell you.

The global market is overfilled with “fake alcohol” — and you can be a victim even if you only drink well-known or pricier booze brands

The 2018 “Opson operation” coordinated by the INTERPOL and Europol that investigated fake food and drinks across 67 countries, seized nearly 10 million liters of counterfeit and substandard alcohol, which was again the most confiscated product from the global market. In the previous year, almost 30 million liters of fake alcohol was seized by the authorities. Booze adulterated with methanol — a substance highly toxic for humans— were among the dangerous frauds detected in the latest investigation.

Operation OPSON VII (Photo: Interpol)

In the UK, seizures of fake alcohol by trading standards authorities increased fivefold in recent years, with fake spirits and fake beer representing an average of 20% in total trade. An undercover investigation by Channel 5 recently found a factory in east London that produces 7,000 fake bottles of Smirnoff vodka a day — the world’s most famous vodka brand — but adulterated with cheaper alcohol ingredients that can cause sickness, blindness, and even death.

“Commonly used substitutes for ethanol [in fake alcohol] include chemicals used in cleaning fluids, nail polish remover and automobile screen wash, as well as methanol and isopropanol which are used in antifreeze and some fuels.” — Prof Paul Wallace, Drinkaware UK



Marina Martinez

Global sustainability researcher. Writing about the controversial relationships among People, Nature, and Economy.