Sam Adams Beer Founder Reveals How to Cure a Hangover
By James Petra
Updated on April 28, 2014

How to Cure a Hangover

The co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch (the guy you always see in the Sam Adams adverts), reveals his secret answer to the question, how to cure a hangover? reveals all…

Jim KochAs the co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch has appeared in countless Sam Adams commercials over thirty years. As you can imagine, the man really loves to drink (his companies) beer. Educated at Harvard with a range of degrees (a BA, a JD, and an MBA), Koch really is the James Bond of beer.

In an interview with Esquire Magazine, Koch revealed his secret to staying hangover free and razor sharp through (beer fueled) meetings and engagements, “You wanna know my secret?” he asked the interviewer, “How I can drink beer all night long and never get drunk?

The interviewer’s eyebrows raise and his interest is piqued:

“In fact, I had always wondered that. Though this was the first time I’d ever formally met Koch, I’d “met” him in the past at a few beer festivals. Those sorts of events are always kind of Bacchanalian shit shows, with people imbibing dozens of beer samples in a short period and soon stumbling around large convention halls drunk of their asses. Brewers included. But not Koch, who I’d long noticed was always lucid, always able to hold court, and hold his own with those much younger than him. This billionaire brewing raconteur was doing likewise with me at 4 PM on a Thursday afternoon despite the fact we were both now several beers deep. So what was the secret?”

— Aaron Goldfarb, Esquire Magazine

So What Is Jim Koch’s Hangover Secret?

You probably won’t believe it, but it’s simply:


“Active yeast. Like you get at the grocery store.”

— Jim Koch, Esquire magazine interview

Koch reveals that his secret is simply swallowing standard Fleischmann’s dry yeast before he drinks, stirring the white powdery substance in with some yogurt to make it more palatable (and less gag-reflex-y).

Jim Koch has learned the trick from his good friend “Dr. Joe,” or the late-Joseph Owades, another craft beer legend. With a PhD in biochemistry and worked in the fermentation sciences department at Fleischmann’s, Dr Joe probably knew more about fermentation and alcohol metabolism than perhaps any man who has ever lived. He became a consultant for most of the progenitors of America’s early craft brewing movement like Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, and, of course, the Boston Beer Company.

It was then that Dr Joe became good friends with Koch, helped perfect Boston Lager, and passed his yeast secret on to Jim Koch .

“One teaspoon per beer, right before you start drinking,” said Koch, so the interviewer decided to try it out!

“I grabbed a six-pack of beer and a packet of Fleischmann’s and went to work. The older I get, the more of a lightweight I surely become, but after shoveling down six teaspoons and tilting back six bottles I felt nothing more than a little buzzed.”

— Aaron Goldfarb, Esquire Magazine

Koch did note that “…it will mitigate — not eliminate — but mitigate the effects of alcohol!”.
I don’t think that will stop thousands of the craft beer companies fans from running out to the nearest grocery store and buying some yeast and a six pack of the local IPA!

How To Cure A Hangover With Yeast?

The science behind this method is actually pretty simple. Active dry yeast, sometimes called “baker’s yeast,” is a live culture used to make dough rise for breads, rolls, and some types of cake.

Known in scientific circles as Saccharomyces cerivisiae, dry versions, unlike wet yeasts, are dormant until warmed. Both types of yeast feed on sugar, converting the glucose to carbon dioxide gas. Active dry yeast also has an enzyme in it called alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH).

Alcohol MetabolismADH is able to break alcohol molecules down into their constituent parts of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. This is the same thing that happens when your body metabolizes alcohol in its liver.

Dr Joe realized that if you have that enzyme in your stomach when the alcohol first hits it, the ADH will begin breaking it down before it gets into your bloodstream and, thus, your brain.

Is This Hangover Cure Claim True?

Well, the science makes complete sense, but some critics have allready warned against the advice, saying there is only a short window of time for the ADH to work in this way.

Dr. Richard Peek, gastroenterologist and director of the Gastroenterology, Hematology and Nutrition at Vanderbilt University, said “different people can have very different reactions” and pointed out that there is no medical study that has shown that yeast can help inhibit drunkenness.

Dr Peek went on to say that it’s possible that yeast enzymes from a powder will not survive the intense stomach acid, meaning it will not help break down alcohol.

“It’s a double edged sword. If it is actually working like people presume and you’re breaking down more of the alcohol, some of the toxic byproducts of that enzyme [could mean] hangovers could be worse,”

What Do You Think?

I like to think that I wont stop until I find the perfect answer to the question how to cure a hangover, considering I run a website about that very topic! I will be trying out this hangover cure over the next week or two, and of course I’ll share the results with you on!

For now though, if you’ve tried activated yeast as a hangover cure, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear if it worked or not for you!

For now, my hangover cure of choice is still Sobur. You can read my review of the product here (the only 5 star product I’ve tried so far!)

James Petra

James is a beer loving, mountain bike riding, EDM dancing lad from Hull, which is in Yorkshire, England. James loves his wife and his beautiful daughter, but also loves a good party with the lads on a Friday/Saturday (Wednesday??) night. After one-too-many wild nights followed by down days, James decided to find a real cure to the dreaded hangover and he details all his findings here!

Leave a Reply