Nuclear armageddon, folks.
Since nuclear destruction was a given after 1945 - heck, that hysterical Doomsday clock has barely moved despite nuclear disarmament and the collapse of the Soviet Union (it quickly embraced global warming when nuclear war was passé) - researchers made sure to study the important stuff during the Cold War, like what would happen to fizzy drinks during fission-based detonation.
Robert Krulwich at NPR found this gem from Alex Wellerstein at Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog talking about Operation Teapot, 14 nuclear weapons tests starting in 1955 at the Nevada Test Site. One such test, Project 32.2a, involved nuking a mock town full of mannequins - but they made sure to include real-life objects like beer.
There was no numerical testing then, it was all make-and-break, real world stuff, so the bottles and cans got two bomb blasts - equivalent to 20 kilotons and 30 kilotons of TNT.
Credit and link: Restricted Data
Result: The cans did a little better but both survived pretty well, even about 1,000 feet from the blast. Radiation was minimal, "well within the permissible limits for emergency use", the report said. But, really, what is more of an emergency than 'I just survived a nuclear blast'?
Did anyone drink it? Yep, this was the time before pesky human rights standards for scientists.
Examination made immediately upon recovery showed no observable gross changes in the appearance of the beverages. Immediate taste tests indicated that the beverages, both beer and soft drinks, were still of commercial quality, although there was evidence of a slight flavor change in some of the products exposed at 1270 ft from GZ [Ground Zero]. Those farther away showed no change.Who do you think they got to do that? Probably a post-doc.
Researchers in Ireland have developed a way to make the shelf life of beer a little longer but, really, if it can survive a nuclear blast it's already pretty darn good.
Check out Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog. Enjoy Slim Gaillard Quartette's Atomic Cocktail while you read and you will stay for the awesome content. Mostly because we no longer live it. Or at least we think we don't.