Announcements and News

About GABA Labs

GABA Labs is a pioneering and science-driven company that develops functional ingredients as patentable alternatives to alcohol.

Their flagship product, ‘Alcarelle’, is a synthetic GABAergic* ingredient designed to mimic the positive effects of alcohol – conviviality and sociability – while avoiding alcohol’s harms and unpleasant effects. Alcarelle will be licensed to Drinks Companies, enabling them to create a whole new generation of functional adult beverages.

GABA Labs will be taking Alcarelle through formal regulatory programs prior to licensing it to the global drinks industry. GABA Labs is seeking registration for Alcarelle as ‘novel food’ in the UK/EU/Canada and ‘GRAS’ (‘Generally Regarded As Safe’) in the US.

GABA Labs has also completed its first botanical ingredient, which has now been licensed to The Social Drinks Company (TSDC). TSDC has launched the first of a new range of botanical spirits called Sentia*, which also simulate the sociability and conviviality effects of alcohol-based drinks.

GABA Labs’ scientific work is led by Chief Scientific Officer and renowned neuropsychopharmacologist, Professor David Nutt. Following thirty years’ research into the effects of alcohol and other substances on stress, anxiety and relaxation, Professor David Nutt embarked on a program to develop a patentable synthetic compound as a functional alternative to alcohol.

GABA Labs was originally formed in May 2016, with a mission to develop new compounds that are designed to mimic the pleasurable effects of alcohol on the GABA* system, without the use of alcohol. 

GABA Labs is now raising investment to support the regulatory processes for Alcarelle, and to develop further their bioprospecting program into plant-based molecules using AI-based techniques.

*GABA (Gamma aminobutyric acid) – exists in almost all living organisms, and is produced naturally within the human brain. It is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) and produces a calming effect, enhancing conviviality and sociability. 

*GABAergic – in molecular biology and physiology, a substance is GABAergic if it produces its effects via interactions with the GABA system.

*Sentia is an alcoholic-free, functional Botanical Spirit that enhances sociability and relaxation. Sentia is intended as an adult recreational drink and although alcohol-free, is not recommended  for anyone under the age of 18, pregnant or breastfeeding, or taking prescription medication including antidepressants.

Company Announcements

GABA Labs is launching its next round of funding. Over the next decade, we will revolutionise the face of adult social drinking. If you want to be part of that seismic change, and reap the benefits, please go to our Investors page to register your interest.

Professor Dave Nutt’s interview with Channel 4’s “Food Unwrapped” show was aired at 8pm on 11th January 2021. Food Unwrapped is Channel 4’s flagship consumer show focusing on food and health and has been running since 2012.

Professor Nutt is Chief Scientific Officer for GABA Labs, and will discuss new botanical developments and GABA’s crucial role in human sociability.

GABA Labs develops new beverage ingredients for adult social drinkers. The company specialises in GABA, focusing on its role in human sociability and its potential for enabling a new generation of adult social drinking choices.

GABA Labs will bring its beverage ingredient “Alcarelle” and its active botanical ingredient, known as “ABI”, to market and license this technology to the Drinks Industry.

The first licensee is The Social Drinks Company (a wholly-owned subsidiary) which launched a botanical spirit called SENTIA in early 2021.

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The Social Drinks Company – SENTIA

GABA Labs’ ABIs (Active Botanical Ingredients) have been licensed to wholly-owned subsidiary, The Social Drinks Company.

They launched a new Botanical Spirit drink “SENTIA” in January 2021.

Further licensing deals, both within the company group and with external companies are envisaged in 2022.

London, UK. Jan. 03, 2021 – British-based, Drink Ingredient developer Alcarelle is a pioneer in the alcohol alternative space, designing a product that aims to be “better than alcohol” and that allows people to experience all the benefits but without use of ethanol. 

Today the company announced they’re rebranding, and will operate as GABA Labs. This name change reflects the company’s evolution and focus – increasing their product offerings and communicating to a wider audience, says Managing Director of GABA Labs David Orren.

At the same time, GABA Labs is expanding into the Botanical Spirits and Alcohol-Free beverage market with the launch of their subsidiary company – The Social Drinks Company (TSDC). During January, The Social Drinks Company will enter the consumer beverage market with their first Botanical Spirit, Sentia*.

With roots in advanced molecular and neuroscience research, our company is committed to delivering breakthrough ingredients that will revolutionize the spirits market as we know it today. After five years of research and technological advances, we are excited to announce the evolution of Alcarelle to GABA Labs and the launch of a brand-new company, The Social Drinks Company (TSDC). We are ready to bring much needed innovation to the adult social drinking beverage industry”, says Orren.

GABA Labs is a pioneering, science-driven company, known for its discovery and development of a patentable alternative to alcohol called Alcarelle.

The GABA Labs scientific team includes experienced senior scientists with wide-ranging disciplines, and is supported by a Scientific Advisory Board drawn from industry and scientific research. The business side is led by Managing Director David Orren, who brings 30 years’ experience launching disruptive innovation into international markets.

The Social Drinks Company (TSDC) is launching their first commercial Botanical Spirit named Sentia in January 2021. Sentia is currently available in the UK via three channels – the direct-to-consumer site; from Amazon, and via ProofDrinks, the premier drinks distributor in the UK.

For more information about the name change or to learn more about GABA Labs please visit:

GABA Labs in the News

28-Jul-2023: The Wall Street Journal
Alcarelle: The Pleasure of Drinking, without the Pain
(GABA Labs comment – article also includes two other products which are not connected to GABA Labs)
The London-based company is developing a synthetic alcohol that it says will bring pleasurable effects without hangovers, health problems or slurred speech. Its basis is gamma-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid that targets receptors in the front of the brain that trigger the relaxation and sociability alcohol brings, while avoiding the chaos it wreaks on the body.” (in English)

23-Jan-2023: The Sun (UK)
Sentia review: We tried SENTIA Red to see if it lives up to its spirit-lifting claims
(GABA Labs comment – comprehensively covers the science, along with a highly finessed tasting description.)
Did SENTIA have the desired effect on me? I think so, in that I felt relaxed while drinking it and after, but the effects were subtle. I remained in control and there was no risk of drinking too much, getting lairy, causing a row and having to be poured into a taxi home. And best of all – always best of all – no hangover the next day!” (in English)

21-Jan-2023: The Daily Mail (UK)
Alcohol WITHOUT the hangover: 0% herbal spirit gets you ‘drunk’ but has no lasting effects… as two MailOnline reporters found out
The Daily Mail sends two rosy cheeked, and hopefully merry, MailOnline reporters to test out SENTIA and give their verdict.
I’m feeling slightly squiffy already. I can definitely feel a little buzz, my commute home should be interesting.” (in English)

06-Jan-2023: The Times (UK)
How I felt after getting ‘drunk’ on hangover-free zero-alc booze
Times Science Editor, Tom Whipple, sits down with Professor Dave Nutt and David Orren to discuss (and experience) GABA Labs’ functional zero-alc drinks.
Most people drink alcohol to become more sociable and more relaxed. They want to take away that social inhibition, that anxiety, that slight uncertainty about how people are going to react to you. A bottle of 0 per cent beer does not do that.” (in English)

05-Jan-2023: The Spirits Business (US)
Neuroscientists have created a new category of non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ designed to mimic the feel-good effects of alcohol
…Nutt and his team have developed a synthetic alternative to alcohol, known as Alcarelle […] This ingredient will go into food safety testing once the company has raised funds […] Alcarelle will be sold to beverage companies in order for them to add it to their drinks and allow consumers to experience the benefits of alcohol without ethanol.” (in English)

03-Jan-2023: inews (UK)
I tried substitute alcohol that gives you a buzz without the booze and it worked
Susie Mesure tries GABA Labs’ botanical functional zero-alc drink, “SENTIA”.
Forget living on lime cordial or soda water, companies are now producing drinks that give you a buzz but without the alcohol.” (in English)

23-Jan-2023: The Scotsman (UK)
If you are doing Dry January, this is when the going gets tough
Designed specifically to target the ‘GABA’ receptors which calm and relax the brain, Sentia aims to deliver that nice two-drink feeling of disinhibition […] Crucially, it’s alcohol-free and instead relies on a herbal concoction to achieve the desired neurological effect. So could it catch on?” (in English)

03-May-2022: The Champagne Problems podcast (mp3 audio file, 53mins)
Professor Dave Nutt and David Orren discuss alcohol culture and how GABA Labs is delivering better drinking choices for adult social drinkers with the Champagne Problems podcast team – mental health and wellness professionals, Robbie Shaw, Patrick Balsley and Sam Hampson. (in English)

03-Jan-2022: Der Tagesspiegel
Wie eine Alternative zu Alkohol Leben retten könnte (auf Deutsch)

01-Jan-2022: Time Magazine
Synthetic Alcohol Promises to Make Drinking Safer (in English)

03-Mar-2021: Vice Magazine
The Drink That ‘Gets You Tipsy with No Hangover’ (in English)

30-Jan-2021: Metro, UK
Excellent review of Sentia (new botanical drink powered by GABALabs’ ingredients) (in English)

(All items prior to 2021 refer to GABA Labs as “Alcarelle”)

28-Feb-2020: Quest magazine, Nederlands
Drinking “alcohol” without a hangover (in Dutch)

02-May-2019: BBC Science Focus Magazine
Could Alcarelle, a synthetic alcohol substitute being developed in UK labs, spell the end of binge drinking, hangovers, and alcohol-related diseases? (in English)

03-Apr-2019: mnn (Mother Nature Network)
With Alcarelle, scientist aims to create booze that keeps the buzz but none of the baggage (in English)

02-Apr-2019: Splice (magazine for Life Scientists)
Scientists Develop “Fake Alcohol” That Gets You Buzzed But Never Drunk (in English)

28-Mar-2019: Inverse
Synthetic “Alcarelle” Promises to Make You Feel Drunk Without the Hangover (in English)

26-Mar-2019 – Irish Examiner
Here’s what you need to know about Alcarelle (in English)

26-Mar-2019 – The Independent
Synthetic alcohol that doesn’t cause hangovers or liver damage may be available in five years (in English)

26-Mar-2019 – The Guardian
Could Alcarelle provide all the joy of booze – without the dangers? (in English)