Alcohol is the oldest and most commonly used of all recreational drugs, with annual sales exceeding one trillion U.S. dollars. Beer has been the world's most popular alcohol since before the invention of the wheel with annual sales now exceeding US$500 billion. Most of the world’s beer has between 4% and 6% alcohol by volume, and the strength of beer achieved by natural fermentation brewing methods has limits, but a well crafted beer that is repeatedly “freeze distilled” can achieve exquisite qualities and much higher alcohol concentrations. An escalation in the use of this new methodology over the last 12 months has seen man's favorite beverage suddenly become stronger than spirits such as whisky and vodka, and more expensive too. The world's strongest beer is getting much stronger, very quickly, and this week we spoke to the brewers at the centre of an informal but escalating competition to brew the world's strongest beer. New contestants are gathering, and the race is now on to break 50% alcohol by volume.