You've Heard About Powdered Alcohol Coming to the U.S. — But Here's What's Really Happening

You've Heard About Powdered Alcohol Coming to the U.S. — But Here's What's Really Happening

The news: Over the past couple of days, you might have seen some excitement about a new brand of powdered alcohol called Palcohol. After a beverage law blog reported that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved the product, the Internet went into a tizzy about what this could mean.




Of course, such a "revolutionary" product immediately raised a ton of questions: Would people start snorting it like cocaine? Would this make it easier for minors to sneak it into a drink? And how can you incorporate it into your everyday cooking?

It seems like all these questions may have been premature — you won't be able to sprinkle vodka powder over your eggs just yet. After the Palcohol story went viral, a representative from the TTB announced that the approval was made in error, and that Palcohol founder Mark Phillips has to surrender the labels back to the bureau.

"We have been in touch with the TTB and there seemed to be a discrepancy on our fill level, how much powder is in the bag. There was a mutual agreement for us to surrender the labels," the company announced on its website. "This doesn't mean that Palcohol isn't approved. It just means that these labels aren't approved. We will resubmit labels. We don't have an expected approval date as label approval can vary widely."


Image Credit: Palcohol

The background: This certainly isn't the weirdest form of alcohol out there. In the past few years, we've seen alcohol as whipped creamyogurt and inhalable vapor. But powdered alcohol is a whole different ball game because of how transportable and adaptable it is. As an old version of the Palcohol website points out, "What's worse than going to a concert, sporting event, etc., and having to pay $10, $15, $20 for a mixed drink with tax and tip? Are you kidding me?! Take Palcohol into the venue and enjoy a mixed drink for a fraction of the cost."

Of course, that raises questions of whether this would enable underage drinking, or help people drink at a place where they are not allowed. It seems like TTB shared these concerns; according to Phillips, it took four years for the bureau to approve the labels.

The company has developed six alcohol flavors: vodka, rum and four cocktails (Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Lemon Drop and a margarita flavor called Powderita). According to the website, the packages weigh about an ounce and can easily fit in a pocket.

What will happen next? As the Associated Press points out, it's a bit strange that the TTB approval was made in error, especially given how stringent the process is. After four years of deliberation, something like a label discrepancy should have been ironed out by now. 

In all likeliness, the bureau may have been caught off guard by the public reaction and decided to take a second look at the product. Phillips sounds hopeful that he will receive approval again. In the meantime, if you really can't wait to get your hands on some powdered alcohol, you can try making it at home instead.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Eileen Shim

Eileen is a writer living in New York. She studied comparative literature and international studies at Yale University, and enjoys writing about the intersection of culture and politics.

MORE FROM

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Driver charged with human trafficking after 30-40 people found locked in fatally hot tractor-trailer

The charge against James Matthew Bradley, the alleged driver of the vehicle, could carry a punishment as severe as the death penalty.

Charlie Gard’s parents end legal fight to continue treatment for terminally ill son

The parents have withdrawn their request for Charlie to receive treatment in the U.S.

10th person dies after 38 found locked in sweltering tractor-trailer outside Texas Walmart

8 were found dead at the scene; 2 more died after being rushed to the hospital in critical or serious condition.

Dozens killed in deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Democratic brand, WH Communications Director, Jared Kushner to be questioned

Here are the important stories to know for Monday, July 24

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Driver charged with human trafficking after 30-40 people found locked in fatally hot tractor-trailer

The charge against James Matthew Bradley, the alleged driver of the vehicle, could carry a punishment as severe as the death penalty.

Charlie Gard’s parents end legal fight to continue treatment for terminally ill son

The parents have withdrawn their request for Charlie to receive treatment in the U.S.

10th person dies after 38 found locked in sweltering tractor-trailer outside Texas Walmart

8 were found dead at the scene; 2 more died after being rushed to the hospital in critical or serious condition.

Dozens killed in deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Democratic brand, WH Communications Director, Jared Kushner to be questioned

Here are the important stories to know for Monday, July 24