The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) approved the sale of powdered alcohol last week. This means that US citizens can now purchase alcohol in a powdered form, called Palcohol. To make an alcoholic drink you just add the powder to water.
This decision is an about turn for the TTB, as last year the bureau approved the powdered alcohol, but abruptly backtracked, stating that they had made an error, However, last week, the bureau’s Tom Hogue said that any earlier issues had been resolved, and as such, four varieties have been approved.
These are R, a rum powder, V which is a vodka powder, a cosmopolitan and powderita, which is based on the taste of a margarita. It is expected that a fifth powder, called lemon drop, will shortly be given the OK.
Experts in alcohol addiction are wary of these powders, as some believe that they could be abused by younger people.
Dr. Scott Krakower, an assistant unit chief of psychiatry from New York’s Zucker Hillside Hospital, told Live Science:
“Youths are going to be very vulnerable to this,” he said. Dr. Krakower believes that the powder aspect of the alcohol could encourage younger people to either mix it with other drugs, or even snort it.
There are other experts however, who do not see alcohol as a powder to be a problem.
“Alcohol by itself definitely has its own share of traps and hazards,” Brandon Korman of Miami Children’s Hospital also spoke to Live Science. “I don’t see this yet as any more or less dangerous. Potential for abuse isn’t grounds for us to deny a label.”
Palcohol was originally designed for hikers, campers, cyclists and kayakers, anyone really who didn’t want to tote around bottles of alcohol as well as water bottles. The founder of Palcohol, Mark Phillips, spent a few years developing the powder with the help of scientists from around the world.
Phillips says that he is an active guy and didn’t want to lug around heavy bottles of booze when he was out and about. He looked for a powdered form of alcohol but when he couldn’t find one, decided to make it himself.
Lipsmark, the company that makes Palcohol says there are endless uses for the powder. For instance, people could just take water to stadium events where the alcoholic drinks are typically overpriced.
The blurb on Palcohol’s website also advises that the powder can also be used with food. They suggest sprinkling Rum onto a BBQ sandwich, or mixing the Cosmo into a salad. They advise that the powder should be added after cooking, as heat burns off the alcohol.
The company recognises that young people could potentially snort the powder, and they warn against it.
“Yes, you can snort it. And you’ll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose. Good idea? No. It will mess you up. Use Palcohol responsibly.”
You can buy Palcohol from any establishment that is licensed to sell liquor.
It is expected to go on sale from summer 2015.