Powdered Alcohol Is Approved for Sale in the U.S. (Again)

Illustration for article titled Powdered Alcohol Is Approved for Sale in the U.S. (Again)

Last year, a form of powdered alcohol called Palcohol was cleared for sale in the United States—and then immediately banned again by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Now, it's perfectly legal once more.


The Associated Press reports that powdered alcohol has regained approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. According to a Bureau spokesperson, the original U-turn—which claimed that the first approval was "made in error"—was carried out over concerns that Palcohol's labels didn't accurately reflect the content of the product. Now, those issues have apparently been resolved, making four varieties of Palcohol legal once more in the eyes of the Bureau. "Potential for abuse isn't grounds for us to deny a label," the spokesperson said to Associated Press.

On its website, Palcohol explains that it hopes to distribute the product soon. "It will take a while but hopefully it will be available this summer," wrote Palcohol's inventor, Mark Phillips. The powder, available in a range of flavors, is around 50 percent alcohol by weight and between 12 and 60 percent alcohol by volume. According to its manufacturers, about a half cup of the stuff is equivalent to one drink.

Such aspirations to sell wont necessarily mean you can freely buy powdered alcohol, though. States, after all, can regulate the sale of alcohol within their own borders—and many are concerned over the effects powdered alcohol may have on their populations. Indeed, several are already planning to ban products like Palcohol, and Colorado has already advanced legislation to prevent its sale.

Such actions stem from concerns about what people might do with powdered alcohol: snort it, smuggle it, spike drinks with it, other awful things. But, as beverage lawyers noted last year, those worries are probably a little overblown. "After the initial shock value, perhaps this will be as rare as vodka tampons, eyeballing and vodka injections," wrote Robert Lehman. Most sane people, we noted last year, would likely continue to consume alcohol in its enjoyable forms.

Still, such commentary will probably do little to change the minds of state law makers. Instead, you can probably expect to see the freshly approved Palcohol on sale in more liberal states—perhaps even by the summer.

Top image is a stock phot0 (not actually Palcohol) by Oleg Golovnev/Shutterstock




I can see why big alcohol would want this banned. I can see beer sales at events going way down. Why spend $15 a beer at the baseball game when you can bring a packets of this in.