Since holidays often involve gatherings, and gatherings often involve alcohol, and alcohol often involves hangovers, we thought this might be a good time to look at the products and techniques meant to cure them.

Let’s just call this what it is…a Public Service Announcement. We see three focus areas:

1. Prevention

Why treat later what you can prevent now? Experts favor these methods:

  • Snacking on high protein and high fat items, like nuts, beforehand1
  • Prepping with vitamin B and zinc2
  • Drinking one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage
  • Favoring drinks made with “white spirits” (like vodka, rum, or gin) as dark spirits (like whiskey) contain congeners – naturally occurring compounds that lend flavor – and can cause or intensify a hangover3

Though not widely endorsed, one study also suggests asparagus, for its liver-protecting properties.4

Person pouring a glass of water with their meal, next to an empty wine glass
Image Credit: CNET
Egg, bacon and toast breakfast
Image Credit: Eater

2. Natural Cures

In terms of ancient remedies, there’s always raw owl eggs and rabbit dung tea to fall back on.5 But in modern times, there are more palatable options such as eggs, salty foods, bananas, carbohydrate-rich oatmeal, rice or beans, water and electrolyte-rich beverages like coconut water or sports drinks – all recommended to address the dehydration, gastrointestinal issues, low blood sugar, fatigue and headaches that come with the territory.6

3. Targeted Hangover Products

For those willing to experiment, there are packaged goods. We’re not talking about Advil; we’re talking about an emerging market targeting hangovers that’s estimated globally at nearly $2B USD with a CAGR of 14.6% expected between 2021 and 2028.7

While it’s a newer concept in the U.S., it’s been booming in Korea for years, due to its reputation for some of the longest working hours and heaviest drinking habits in the world. In Korea, products tend to focus on pre-, during- and post-drinking beverages, chewing gums and pills.8 One popular beverage, Dawn 808, famously delivers drinkers “straight to the purge” courtesy of its “strong flavors”.

Back in the States, however, most consumers have never heard of official hangover products,9 but that’s about to change. In fact, mature-market, Asian manufacturers consider the West untapped.10 Here’s a sample of what’s in store…pun intended.

  • Morning Recovery – a liquid “liver boosting shot designed to outsmart rough mornings after drinking” with VC investment and distribution strategies in 7-Elevens and online11
  • Functional foods like protein-rich SoBar, with strong claims and a patent-pending technology designed to keep alcohol in the stomach long enough to be broken down12
  • Supplements like AfterDrink, Flyby and Purple Tree, loaded with antioxidants, and herbal extracts13
  • Morning after teas, like “Organic Hangover Relief” from Full Leaf Tea Co
  • The Good Patch’s “Revive Patch”, which secures premium hemp extract to the inside of your wrist before your night out14
  • Molly J’s Revive Hangover Gumdrops, containing 50mg of high-quality CBD15
Image Credit: SOBAR

While the above are intended to expand personal options as we continue into the holiday season, the business opportunities are evident. The white space is clear, with few entrants, traction overseas and consumer’s own hacking strategies to demonstrate the unmet need (e.g., McVities digestive biscuits, drinking pickle juice, etc.). For anyone considering entry, we’re here to help. To start, we can recommend the following 10 test markets for your future prototypes:

  • New Hampshire, Delaware, Nevada, North Dakota, and Montana (states with the highest alcohol consumption per capita)16
  • Wisconsin and Iowa (Top 2 states for binge drinking)17
  • Alaska, Wyoming, and Colorado (within the Top 5 most hungover states)18

In closing, we encourage you to drink responsibly and have a happy holiday season!

[1] “Those Antihangover Drinks Won’t Get Rid of Your Hangover. Here’s What Will”, CNET, 3/02/22
[2] “A Doctor Shared 5 Legit Ways to Prevent and Cure a Hangover”, Men’s Health, 5/24/21
[3] “What to Know About Congeners in Alcohol”, WebMD, 11/09/21
[4] “!6 hangover cures that work”, Singlecare.com, 8/05/22
[5] “The Weird and Wonderful History of Hangover Cures”, Eater, 12/31/15
[6] “Why Alcohol Causes a Hangover”, verywell mind, 6/12/22
[7] “Hangover Cure Products Market Size Report”, Grandview Research, 2019
[8] “Korea’s booming hangover treatments trade”, Beverage Daily, 1/24/20
[9] “Starting in the alcohol recovery category, Morning Recovery maker ready to expand to new categories”, Beverage Daily, 5/22/19
[10] “Reduce hangxiety: Anti-hangover brand Bounceback targets 700% growth and US entry”, Nutraingredients.com, 8/03/22
[11] “Hangover-busting snack bar slashes alcohol absorption by half”, Beverage Daily, 12/06/19
[12] “Hangover-busting snack bar slashes alcohol absorption by half”, Beverage Daily, 12/06/19
[13] “The 6 Best Hangover Supplements on Amazon”, sfgate.com, 10/31/22
[14] “Sunday Morning Comedown: A Roundup of the Best Hangover Cures”, thequalityedit.com, 10/02/22
[15] “RS Recommends: Can You Cure a Hangover? These Concoctions Might Ease the Pain”, Rolling Stone, 5/31/22
[16] “Alcohol Consumption by State”, World Population Review, 2022
[17] “These states have the highest rates of binge drinking”, The Hill, 9/13/22
[18] “The Most and Least Hungover States”, Zippia, 8/27/20