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Brewpocalypse: Is it Safe to Drink Beer After A Nuclear Explosion?

Keystone, Getty Images

Paranoid alcoholics all over the world have likely wondered, at one time or another, exactly how a Hiroshima-sized nuclear explosion would affect the beer supply in a post-apocalyptic civilization. We have, too.

Interestingly enough, in 1955 the U.S. government brushed upon the subject of booze after the bomb in Operation: Teapot; a study that used a series of nuclear tests to supposedly prove that in the event of a nuclear holocaust, canned and bottled beer would be safe for human consumption.

The report for Operation: Teapot contains a segment called Project 32.2a, appropriately titled ”The Effects of Nuclear Explosions on Commercially Packaged Beverages,’ which states: “Packaged beverages, both beer and soft drinks, are so ubiquitous and already uniformly available in urban areas, it is obvious that they could serve as important sources of fluids.”

Upon the conclusion of the research for Operation: Teapot, scientists from five “qualified laboratories” concluded that though the radioactivity slightly changed the flavor of bottled and canned beverages, nuclear beer was “well within the permissible limits for emergency use.”

However, nearly 60 years later, modern science is in disagreement with the Teapot report, claiming that a nuclear disaster would render bottled and canned beer unfit to drink.

According to Reyco Henning, assistant professor of physics at the University of North Carolina, beer stored in aluminum cans and glass bottles is more likely to hold in radiation than pure water stored in plastic containers.

Henning says that if the big bomb drops, bottled water will be much safer for consumption than beer.

We like the ’50s scientists way better. After all, if some wild-eyed renege of Geneva Protocol ever does happen, clear liquids will not change the outcome of the fallout. Beer, however, will keep us fighting.

Next: 10 Unexpected Uses for Booze

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