As Alcohol Industry Attempts to Subvert Science, Students Learn Science of Alcohol


    Millennials consumed approximately 36% of all wine purchased last year, which accounts for almost 159.6 million cases. It might seem like the only thing millennials are interested in is drinking alcohol, but a new class at Johns Hopkins University has proven otherwise.

    Ben Crane’s class is a two-week intensive course that ranks as one of the most popular undergraduate classes at Johns Hopkins University. It takes place during the short intersession in January and its focus is to teach students about the science behind fermentation, specifically the kind that produces alcohol.

    Crane’s students are among a large group of millennials who are showing increased interest in not only crafting food, but in learning about the culture and science that goes into cooking and brewing. Students learn how to brew beer and cultivate yogurt right in their own kitchens.

    Many students praise the class because of its ability to take scientific concepts from the classroom into a real world situation. For those interested in scientific pursuits, it’s an opportunity to take a new approach to food. For others, it’s a way to learn enough science to innovate in the kitchen.

    The class is offered at a time when the alcohol industry, rather than trying to demystify the fermentation process, is making attempts to subvert science in order to prevent stricter regulations.

    A recent study based in Australia revealed that the alcohol industry has continued to make claims to governments that outright contradict scientific facts in an effort to sway regulations toward leniency.

    The study, led by University of Newcastle professor Kypros Kypri and other researchers at Deakin University in Geelong found that, like big tobacco, the alcohol industry claimed that selling a legal product made it exempt from further regulation. Kypri said that other tactics were used, particularly the argument that alcohol companies were more “socially responsible” and therefore should be excluded from the majority of companies who couldn’t boast that fact.

    Despite the alcohol industry’s best efforts, students and researchers alike are continuing studies that produce scientific facts about the effects of alcohol.