Fact Check-‘Adrenochrome’ keg is an art project, not a Heineken barrel transported by Shell

A keg with “adrenochrome” embossed on its rim was created as part of an art project exhibited in London in 2018; images of the keg have recently been misrepresented online alongside false claims that it is among Heineken barrels filled with adrenochrome and transported worldwide by Shell.

Adrenochrome refers to a red-colored substance that derives from the oxidation of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline (here , here ). It is not exclusive to the human body and can be purchased from chemical suppliers for research purposes.

Adrenochrome has, however, been a focus for adherents of QAnon (here) who falsely claim that “global elites” harvest the chemical from children and consume it to stay healthy and young. More information about the conspiracy theory is available on Wired (here), First Draft (here) and McGill University’s Office for Science and Society (here).

The keg image and claims circulated following Feb. 22 reports that Bill Gates bought a 3.76% stake in Heineken Holding NV (here).

Examples are viewable on Twitter (here) and Facebook (here).

Reuters could not source the exact photograph in the posts, but it matches others depicting an art project exhibited at the University of the Arts London (UAL) in 2018.

The kegs carrying the inscription and red stripes were created by artist Natalia Lambert as part of a project titled “Adrenochrome.” Other photographs of the kegs are viewable in posts by Lambert’s Instagram profile ( and the Central Saint Martins MA Fine Art Alumni Instagram account (

Contacted by Reuters, a spokesperson for Central Saint Martins, UAL said that “’The image is of an artwork made by a graduating student for the end of year show in 2018.”

Lambert told Reuters that the photograph shared online depicts her artwork. “I have no knowledge or relationship to any claims re Shell & Heineken,” she added.

Reuters found no credible media reports to support the claim that Heineken barrels were used to transport the substance or that Shell conveyed them.

A spokesperson for Heineken told Reuters that the company has “never been involved in the production, transport or shipment of adrenochrome.”

Shell’s spokesman Jonathan French referred to the claim as “completely false” and said adrenochrome “is not and has never been a product” in the company’s chemicals portfolio.

“Heineken is not and has never been a customer of Shell Trading and Supply, which includes our Distribution Operations and Shipping teams,” he added.

Reuters has previously debunked other social media posts referring to adrenochrome (here), (here).


False. This photograph shows an object created as part of an art project exhibited in London in 2018, not a Heineken barrel transported by Shell.

Update March. 27: Replaces paragraph 9 to include response from Natalia Lambert

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work (here).