Does alcohol make you more creative?

In April 2013, Max and I happily become lab-rats for the Drum & Dave Birss’ exotically titled ‘Newt – Judge Experiment’.

The conundrum in the crucible was old as time itself… Do you produce better creative work… when pissed as a newt or sober as a judge?

On arrival, we discovered we were in different teams. Ran, to her delight, discovered she was on the ‘drinking team’ while Max, to his dismay, found he was not.


Here’s what the Drum had to say about it:

Most of our guinea pigs attended as part of a creative team. We expected that they’d automatically pair off with their partner and get to work. But that wasn’t the case.

Instead, both groups immediately started working in large group brainstorms. I thought creatives hated brainstorms! But we left them to it, expecting them to peel off into their creative teams at some point.

They didn’t.

After an hour the alcohol-fuelled group ended up pretty leery, with the louder individuals dominating the conversation. We didn’t feel this was the best use of the creative minds in the room, so we split up the group and told people to work in their creative teams for the rest of the experiment.

We then went to the teetotal group and asked them to do the same. They refused. I demanded. They got up and walked out. Every single one of them. I’d started a mutiny. It was like a classic Stanley Milgram experiment. They saw me as the authority figure who had denied them alcohol. I was the one responsible for their miserable, sober condition. They hated me.

Fortunately, the group returned 15 minutes later, split into their teams and got busy with their Sharpies.
After three hours of thinking, we collected their ideas and took everyone out to the pub.



Well, not quite everyone… *cough*