Palcohol—Powdered Alcohol

Mark Phillips, a successful entrepreneur and avid outdoorsman, is the creator of a product called Palcohol, a powdered alcohol product that mixes with water to produce an alcohol drink. Palcohol is sold in small packets and equals about one shot of alcohol. According to Palcohol’s official website, the powder was created because Phillips wanted a drink after a long day of hiking or camping, but hated carrying bottles with him.

In April, 2014, approval for distribution in the U.S. was granted by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (ATTTB). Less than a month later, that approval was rescinded. The explanation offered by the ATTTB was that the product was approved in error. Some believe that protests by parents, “Say NO to powdered alcohol” articles, and backlash from Congress paid a role in that decision.

In May of 2015, bureau spokesman, Tom Hogue, told The Associated Press the issues were resolved and four varieties of Palcohol were approved. But Hogue noted that states can also regulate Palcohol sales in their borders. Several states have already moved to ban powdered alcohol, including lawmakers in Colorado who last month advanced legislation to temporarily halt its sale.

Parents are concerned that the packets will make it easier for kids to get, hide, and use alcohol. Likewise, food blog, The Braiser, is concerned that the packets could be easily confused as Crystal Lite or Kool-Aid packets by both kids and adults. Others are concerned that this will make it easier for kids or college students to binge drink and therefore get very ill. Senator Charles Schumer asked the Food and Drug Administration to prevent Palcohol from reaching stores shelves, saying that it would become the Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking.

On its website, Palcohol states that it plans to offer six varieties of powdered alcohol, including vodka, rum and four cocktails — Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Powderita and Lemon Drop. The site says that a package weighs about an ounce and can fit into any pocket. It warns people that the powder should not be snorted.

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