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Powdered Alcohol Gets Federal Agency's Approval

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Powdered Alcohol Gets Federal Agency's Approval

Postby markskor » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:50 am

NEW YORK — A powdered alcohol intended to be mixed up into drinks has gained approval from a federal regulator.

The product, called Palcohol, had received the greenlight from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau briefly last year before the bureau backtracked and said the label approvals had been given in error.

On Wednesday, bureau spokesman Tom Hogue told The Associated Press the issues were resolved and that four varieties of Palcohol were approved. But Hogue noted that states can also regulate alcohol sales in their borders.

The approval is a step forward for a small company whose product plans have already sparked controversy.

Several states have already moved to ban powdered alcohol, including lawmakers in Colorado who last month advanced legislation to temporarily halt its sale. That bill has since morphed to ensure the regulation of powdered alcohol as if it were liquid alcohol once it gets federal approval.

Concerns have included abuse by minors, the potential to snort the powder and whether Palcohol's light weight would make it easy to sneak alcohol into public events or spike drinks.

Palcohol would come in a pouch, with water being added to the powder inside for the equivalent of an alcoholic drink.

A statement on Palcohol's website says the company hopes to have the product for sale this summer. Palcohol founder Mark Phillips noted the approval of his products in an email early Wednesday morning, and said in a subsequent email that pricing hasn't yet been determined.

"We aren't commenting on production or distribution at this time," he wrote. The four products that have been approved include powdered versions of a cosmopolitan, a margarita, vodka and rum. Phillips added that he expects another Palcohol product — Lemon Drop — should also be "approved shortly."

Previously, Phillips had said he came up with the idea for Palcohol because he wanted a way to enjoy alcoholic drinks after hiking or other activities without having to lug around heavy bottles.

Hogue said the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regularly reaches out to the Food and Drug Administration to get determinations on whether a product might be considered "adulterated." If the FDA says the product isn't adulterated, he said the bureau's evaluation centers on whether labels accurately reflect what's in the product.

"Potential for abuse isn't grounds for us to deny a label," Hogue said.

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Associated Press Writer Ivan Moreno contributed from Denver.
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Re: Powdered Alcohol Gets Federal Agency's Approval

Postby longri » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:36 pm

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It seems like they have an uphill battle. And from the perspective of a backpacker who, like Mr. Phillips, enjoys having a drink at the end of the day and hates carrying extra weight, I don't see the point. It sounds like it would be about 1/3 lighter than 80 proof liquor, not counting the packaging. But it would be about 1/4 heavier than 151 proof liquor. If it were really, really tasty and inexpensive then maybe I'd be willing to carry the extra weight of this product. But neither of those seem especially likely.





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Re: Powdered Alcohol Gets Federal Agency's Approval

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:44 pm

Oh the stupidity in law makers. Worried about the abuse by minors? As opposed to the currently existing abuse by minors? Worried about people snorting it? Who gives a damn if people snort it. That's their choice. I'm sure they would instantly regret it when their nose is on fire.
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Re: Powdered Alcohol Gets Federal Agency's Approval

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:41 pm

Is it just me or do others wonder how ethanol can be made into powdered form?

Even if I were still carrying alcohol on backpacking trips as I once did, I this product (even it actually morphed into alcohol--I have my doubts) would not remotely tempt me to replace the old "more miles to the gallon" standby (151).
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Re: Powdered Alcohol Gets Federal Agency's Approval

Postby longri » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:20 pm

It seems mysterious since we all know you can't evaporate alcohol to get a solid. I looked it up when Palcohol first made the news a little while back. Apparently they use substances which are capable of adsorbing ethanol. This idea goes back at least 40 years. Powdered alcohol has been marketed and is currently sold in several countries. There's one called Booz2Go. How exactly Palcohol is different is unknown because at the moment the process is a trade secret. The substances used in the past were not unsafe. They were food products like starch and various sugar derivatives.




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Re: Powdered Alcohol Gets Federal Agency's Approval

Postby dave54 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:43 pm

There was a powdered beer that was test marketed about 30(?) years ago. As I recall the alcohol was in little gelatin capsules that dissolved when water was added. The 'beer' tasted like crap. Probably why it never made it to market.

I agree the potential for abuse is high. I can see some 18 year old adding the palcohol to hard liquor and killing himself with alcohol poisoning.
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Re: Powdered Alcohol Gets Federal Agency's Approval

Postby irrfin » Tue May 12, 2015 8:16 pm

The alcohol is trapped in sugar molecule called cyclodextrins (same stuff as Frebreeze). The sugars are non-toxic but they actually ADD mass (weight). Powdered alcohol has a higher mass than the same amount of ethanol alone. The only way to get real solid ethanol would be to freeze it at -173 F. If you are looking for the best weight to ethanol ratio, you need pure liquid ethanol. Liquor stores don't sell it so you want the highest proof possible. They sell industrial ethanol at home depot but it's spiked with methanol so it's non-potable and there isn't a liquor tax. You could distill it yourself but make sure it's outside and no open flames. I teach high school chemistry.
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