Announcements and News

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:


About GABA Labs (formerly known as Alcarelle)

GABA Labs is a pioneering and science-driven company that develops ingredients as patentable alternatives to alcohol. ‘Alcarelle’ is a synthetic GABAergic* ingredient that can be used to make adult drinks and works as an effective catalyst for conviviality and social interaction without some of the unpleasant aspects of ethanol. 

GABA Labs has also completed its first botanical ingredient known as ‘ABI’. The ingredient has been licensed to The Social Drinks Company which is now launching the first of a new range of botanical spirits called Sentia. ‘ABI’ is a botanical ingredient which can be formulated into a liquid product to provide an agreeable drinking experience that mimics (to a lesser degree than Alcarelle) the sociability and conviviality effects of alcohol-based drinks. (This innovation is evaluated in the Channel4 ‘Food Unwrapped’ programme that will be shown at 8pm UK time on the 11th January).

GABA Labs’ scientific work is led by Chief Scientific Office and renowned Neuro-Psycho Pharmacologist, Professor David Nutt. Following thirty years research into the effects of substances on stress, anxiety and relaxation, Professor David Nutt embarked on a program to develop a patentable synthetic compound as an alternative to alcohol. GABALabs has produced a series of ingredients known as “Alcarelle”, including “Alcosynth” (trademark applied for), which have been the subject of significant interest from Drinks Companies. These ingredients will require testing and approval before they can be licensed to the global drinks industry for producers to create a new generation of functional adult social drinks. GABA Labs will seek registration for these ingredients as ‘novel food’ in the UK/EU/Canada and ‘GRAS’ (“Generally regarded as Safe”) in the US.

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 process for their synthetic ingredients, and to develop further their bioprospecting program into plant-based molecules using AI-based techniques.

*Alcosynth is the first in a series of synthetic ingredients known as “Alcarelle“.

*GABA (Gamma aminobutyric acid) is a naturally occurring substance that produces a calming effect, enhancing conviviality and sociability. 

*GABAergic In molecular biology and physiology, something is GABAergic if it pertains to the neurotransmitter GABA

*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 breast feeding, or taking prescription medication including antidepressants.

Company Announcements

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.

press enquiries
investor enquiries
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.

GABA Labs would like to talk with experienced strategic investors who are able to participate in this early stage investment opportunity. Please go to our Investors page to register your interest.

GABA Labs in the News

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)