'Palcohol' is the first brand of powdered alcohol to be cleared by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for sale in the U.S. Entrepreneur Tom Phillips says the product will be available in four flavors including cosmopolitan, margarita, vodka and rum, with lemon drop hitting the market in the near future.
“We will be working on getting the production facility up and running,” Phillips said to Food Safety News. “It will take a while, but hopefully it will be available this summer.”
Phillips says the product is targeted at hikers and outdoorsmen who don’t want to lug large amounts of alcohol great distances because of the added weight. Each metallic pouch requires the addition of about 6 ounces of water, but critics fear it’s a product with too much potential for abuse.
States like Alaska, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Vermont banned powdered alcohol before it even had a chance to hit the market. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been a vocal critic of the product as well, introducing legislation to ban it at the federal level.
“I am in total disbelief that our federal government has approved such an obviously dangerous product, and so, Congress must take matters into its own hands and make powdered alcohol illegal,” he said in a statement. “Underage alcohol abuse is a growing epidemic with tragic consequences and powdered alcohol could exacerbate this. We simply can’t sit back and wait for powdered alcohol to hit store shelves across the country, potentially causing more alcohol-related hospitalizations and God forbid, deaths. This legislation will make illegal the production and sale of this Kool-Aid for underage drinking.”
Phillips has downplayed many of the concerns, instead focusing on the product's versatility and convenience, such as making adult ice cream on a hot summer evening or its potential for air travel. (The powder weighs less than bottles and could reduce fuel costs for airlines.)
“Listen, people can snort black pepper... so do we ban it?” argues Phillips to Forbes. “No, just because a few goofballs use a product irresponsibly doesn’t mean you ban it. But even the goofballs won’t snort Palcohol due to the pain the alcohol would cause. It really burns. Imagine sniffing liquid vodka. Second, it’s impractical. It takes approximately 60 minutes to snort the equivalent of one shot of vodka. Why would anyone do that when they can do a shot of liquid vodka in two seconds?”
While snorting is one concern, others include teen accidents and overdose opportunities.
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Image of a powdered drink via Shuttershock