'It never killed anybody': Is this drink really a new 'alcohol alternative'? – CBC News

Shot-sized bottle. Fancy label. Clearish-yellow liquid. It looks like the single-serving bottles of rum or vodka near the checkout of your local liquor store.

But don’t let the packaging fool you. Pace isn’t your typical tipple.

Health Canada says it’s a controlled substance and its sale is illegal.

“Pace is an illegal and unauthorized product in Canada,” the federal department said in a statement to CBC News. 

“Health Canada is taking appropriate follow-up actions to prevent the sale of this product in Canada.”

But the manufacturer, Diet Alcohol Corporation of the Americas, describes Pace as legal on its website. It describes the drink as a brand-new “alcohol alternative” that packs a similar buzz to booze — with zero alcohol, calories or hangover.

The company describes the active ingredient in Pace, MEAI, as a “new synthetic” that delivers “a mild inebriation along with a feeling of contentedness that curbs overconsumption and excessive drinking.”

It also says on its website that the product is “absolutely” legal.

MEAI — the active ingredient in Pace — reduces the desire to binge drink, according to the manufacturers. But the drug’s long-term health impacts haven’t been studied and aren’t well understood. (Vitalii Tiagunov/Shutterstock)

According to Ezekiel Golan, lead scientist with Pace, “tens of thousands” of bottles have already been sold online and shipped to Canadians.

“It’s way too popular,” said Golan, who is also known by the nickname Dr Z.  “We’re not going to have enough stock to supply the Christmas rush, it seems,” he said.

Pace is sold via targeted Facebook ads as a ‘healthy alcohol alternative’ by DACOA, or the Diet Alcohol Corporation of the Americas. (Facebook)

But the drink’s hazy legality, unpredictable effects and unknown long-term health impacts might give pause to consumers chasing a buzz.

Controversial creator

Golan — a Vancouverite who claims to have

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