Yes, and clearly in this discussion there is one camp that is focusing on the CONSUMING OF ALCOHOL itself and another camp who is focusing on the EFFECTS/INTENTION of consuming alcohol.
As far as I can tell, the 5th Precept is really more about the latter, as many have pointed out.
I took Upasika precepts 3 years ago and renewed them a few years ago, and while I haven’t had a chance to renew them again, I’ve lived on them pretty successfully for 3 years. The 5th Precept has been the absolute easiest one to keep, even as my wife/friends/coworkers have the occasional adult beverage. I’ve definitely stretched the 2nd and 4th more than a few times!
That said, on my recent 10-year anniversary vacation with my wife, I decided to try a beer again - just to see if I would even actually drink it, and to see how I would react when I did, and to “test my mettle” in a way with the 5th Precept.
So I cracked the can (cheap Mexican light beer), and took exactly 3 small sips before setting it down. And that very well could be the last time I have a drink again.
Now, I never had an addiction problem, and 3 sips in no way shape or form is going to have any noticeable physical/mental effect on me, even after 3 years of teetotalling, so I could run that experiment knowing there were no harmful side effects outside of a little shame
Do I feel like I broke the 5th Precept? Yes, technically I did, but since my intentions were good - essentially to remind myself why I don’t drink - I feel it had POSITIVE dhammic effects, as I reinforced the idea that I’m perfectly happy keeping the Precept.
The point has been made that there are gradients of severity with all but the 1st Precept, and I think that it’s reasonable to keep that in mind and avoid an absolutist black-and-white perspective. The Buddha himself never advocated for a stringent black-and-white view, so it would seem odd to apply one here, particularly if it is borne out of one’s AVERSION.