Did the U.S. government really approve the sale of powdered alcohol?

Glenn opened this morning’s radio program with a weird story that just got even weirder. On Saturday, The Telegraph reported the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved the sale of seven versions of ‘Palcohol’ – a powdered alcohol that claims to be equal to a standard mixed drink when five ounces of liquid is added to it.

According to the Palcohol website, the powder was created by Mark Phillips – an “active guy,” who, “after hours of an activity,” wanted “to relax and enjoy a refreshing adult beverage.” Since “lugging heavy bottles of wine, beer, or spirits” didn’t lend itself to the outdoor activities he enjoyed, Phillips worked to create “alcohol in powder form so all one had to do is add water.”

TTB’s approval of Palcohol received a good deal of media attention over the weekend primarily because of some of the bizarre verbiage on the product’s website. According to The Telegraph, the Palcohol site suggested users add the powder to their food: “Sprinkle Palcohol on almost any dish and give it an extra kick. Some of our favourites are the Kamikaze in guacamole, Rum on a BBQ sandwich, Cosmo on a salad and Vodka on eggs in the morning to start your day off right. Experiment.”

Palcohol’s website has since been updated, and it now calls out the “many news outlets” that “have so many facts wrong about Palcohol.” But apparently the TTB was having some second thoughts. On Monday, Tom Hogue, a representative for the federal bureau, said in an email to the Associated Press that the approvals were issued in error. As USA Today reported:

According to the website for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, multiple varieties of Palcohol received “label approval” on April 8. Palcohol said in an email at around 5 p.m. EDT that it agreed to surrender the approvals “a few hours ago.”

This morning, Glenn, Pat, and Stu had a little bit of fun discussing Palcohol and the potential problems its approval could raise for law enforcement and the flask industry among other things.

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  • Deckard426

    You can almost hear the Kennedys snorting gin.

  • http://truthofg.blogspot.com/ Connor Davenport

    This seems like a really bad idea but drunks would love.

  • landofaahs

    If it’s more taxes by the government then they are all for it.

  • JoeThePimpernel

    As a chemist, I have no idea how they could “powder” ethanol.

    Whatever it is they are powdering, I guarantee it’s either a placebo or something that will destroy your kidneys.

  • Рон Джамин

    its a fake. no such thing as “powdered alcohol”. Its like trying to sell “powdered water”.

  • Chad Millard

    sorry, but it’s not fake.

  • Tantalus XVI

    Corn syrup solids are used as the substrate for powdered lemon juice if that clarifies anything…

  • Paul Rybak
  • Mike Parker

    Powdered water. Hmmm…you must be referring to snow.

  • Marideth Henby

    Yeah you can put it on food, I see the Franks redhot commercial “Palcohol I put that sh*t in everything”

  • Anonymous

    Great…more ways to diminish the brain cells of an already brain dead country. LOL

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the FDA guys were snortin’ too much of this palcohol when they made the first approval. Sobered up and decided against it.

  • lgray0451

    I HAVE TO SAY IT WOULD SAVE A LOT OF FUEL AND HELP THE PLANET. THE AIRLINES SAVED LOTS OF FUEL BY SWITCHING TO PLASTIC 2 OZ BOTTLES OF BOOZE SO THE PROOF IS THERE.AND WITH ALL THE DRUGS AROUND THAT THE DOA CAN’T SEEM TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT IS A LITTLE POWDERED ALCOHOL.

  • Anonymous

    Really sharp thinking’ there Mike!

  • Jack Wagner

    One small detail. Ethyl alcohol ( the stuff that’s in beer, wine and whiskey) can not be dehydrated and made into a powder. It makes as much sense as dehydrating water.

  • Melinda

    Why add water or any soft drink? Just flavor the power and put it in straws, like pixie sticks. /endsarcasm

  • Kyle Brown

    Like it or not. just because it is a bizarre product shouldn’t make it illegal. if you dont like it. don’t buy it. many things have the potential to be abused. that is what personal responsibility is for. I am unsure of the science of how this works, but if it truly is just powdered alcohol, then let the free market decide if it should survive.

  • Edward Grafe

    REALLY?!?!?! The first thing I thought of was an individual skipping the mixer, put it on a spoon and swallowing it…..INSTANT buzz!
    How sad that marijuana gets the bum’s rush, while promoting a more dangerous product, now concentrated, is easily promoted.

  • Sam Ricketts
  • Shelley Robinson Riseden

    Yes, people carry flasks. lol.

  • Bob Verkamp

    earthday…think of all the brown paper bags this will save

  • Bobdabuilder

    To those saying alcohol can’t be powdered, yes it can. Alcohol can be absorbed into cyclodextrins, a sugar derivative. It is encapsulated on the molecular level, and they can absorb up to 60% of their own weight in alcohol. A U.S. patent for this process was first registered in 1974. It effectively creates a powderlike substance. When mixed with water, it creates an alcoholic beverage.

  • Bobdabuilder

    See my post below. The process isn’t dehydration. It is absorption and molecular encapsulation into a sugar derivative.

  • Anonymous

    Can the use of the powder be detected in the system as Palcohol rather than alcohol? I suspect the powder could turn drunk-driving/intoxication trials upside down: “Officer, I didn’t have any drinks someone must have slipped Palcohol into my food”.

  • http://imbatman.com Will

    Alcohol doesn’t kill brain cells.

  • Cory Richard McLeod

    I’d like to see the mechanism, but i guess if they hooked it to something that would cause it to precipitate and then unhook via an acid or bass they could put the needed about of acid or bass in the powder so when it’s mixed with water it would be removed and go into solution.

    I bet a decarboxylation reaction is used actually to drive the reaction to completion.

  • Cory Richard McLeod

    nah, the problem with ethanol is it doesn’t become a solid except at suuuuuper low temperatures, the lemon juice thing is just removing the water (like if you dry sugar water you get sugar crystals)

  • Cory Richard McLeod

    that makes sense, I was thinking a completely different pathway but this is more logical.

    thanks for the explanation.

  • Anonymous

    Easy to conceal, much easier to overdose, wanna slip someone a mickey. Kids, and rapists are gonna love this stuff. Know someone you can’t get drunk enough to take advantage of, put it in their food. Get plastered in the cafeteria, at school. This stuff makes a wide variety of abuses, easily accessible. Especially when you consider, how strongly it can be concentrated. Snorting is also an interesting concept. Alcohol works by dehydrating the body, dehydrated alcohol will dehydrate a body even faster. This stuff sounds deadly. Sounds like it will be easy to make if it is made illegal. Let’s make it widely available as soon as possible. Maybe the guy who sells your kid a packet of it will mix in some meth and bath salts. Send home a little zombie to chew on your brains. Honestly in five minutes I can think of a dozen terrible reasons for this product to be made. By the way thanks to the chemist for discussing how it’s made online. Let’s give the meth lab guys a head start, in their research. How many stupid people out there are going to say “No one could ever know this was going to happen.” Pathetic, Stupid, Apathetic.

  • Anonymous

    Easy to conceal, much easier to overdose, wanna slip someone a mickey.
    Kids, and rapists are gonna love this stuff. Know someone you can’t get
    drunk enough to take advantage of, put it in their food. Get
    plastered in the cafeteria, at school. This stuff makes a wide variety
    of abuses, easily accessible. Especially when you consider, how
    strongly it can be concentrated. Snorting is also an interesting
    concept. Alcohol works by dehydrating the body, dehydrated alcohol
    will dehydrate a body even faster. This stuff sounds deadly. Sounds
    like it will be easy to make if it is made illegal. Let’s make it
    widely available as soon as possible. Maybe the guy who sells your kid a
    packet of it will mix in some meth and bath salts. Send home a little
    zombie to chew on your brains. Honestly in five minutes I can think of a
    dozen terrible reasons for this product to be made. By the way thanks
    to the chemist for discussing how it’s made online. Let’s give the meth
    lab guys a head start, in their research. How many stupid people out
    there are going to say “No one could ever know this was going to
    happen.” Pathetic, Stupid, Apathetic. thanks

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the explanation. Give the meth lab guys a head start, in their research, but at least you showed that chemist how smart you are.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, I’m a non drinker but i have 4 flasks. Commemorative flasks.

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