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Will Palcohol Make Its Way Into Stores?
A new alcohol product in powder form could be making its way to a store near you, but it’s already creating controversy even before hitting shelves.
Palcohol, made by a company in Tempe, Ariz. called Lipsmark LLC, is a powder that comes in one-ounce packets and has the potency of a shot of liquor.
The product’s website features six flavors: R, made from Puerto Rican rum; V, made from vodka distilled four times; Cosmopolitan; Mojito; Lemon Drop and Powderita (the Margarita version). It’s designed to be mixed in with plain water, but the V and R flavors can also be used with mixers like soda or tonic water. Similar products are already on the market in Japan and the Netherlands.
However, some health advocates have raised concerns over the potential dangers of Palcohol. Because the packets are easier to carry around than a bottle of liquor and can be consumed more discretely, the potential for reckless drinking increases among alcoholics and underage drinkers.
The Palcohol website was criticized for encouraging binge drinking by suggesting the powder could be used at college football stadiums or concerts, as well as mixed into foods for combinations like vodka and eggs.
Other addiction issues were raised because the powder can be snorted. Palcohol founder Mark Phillips tried to downplay these concerns by declaring that “our concern is to promote the responsible and legal use of the product.”
After approving Palcohol earlier this month and having it slated to be released nationally this fall, the federal agency has since claimed the approval was made “in error.”
But the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau has appeared to acknowledge these potential issues as well. After approving Palcohol earlier this month and having it slated to be released nationally this fall, the federal agency has since claimed the approval was made “in error.” The announcement was made via e-mail by Tom Hogue, the agency’s director of congressional and public affairs, but no further details have been given. Even if it were eventually approved, Palcohol would be limited to those over the age of 21 and would face similar government restrictions as traditional alcohol.
Phillips believes the announcement is just a setback and expects the product will be released. “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,” he explained. “This doesn’t mean that Palcohol isn’t approved. It just means that these labels aren’t approved. We will re-submit labels. We don’t have an expected approval date as label approval can vary widely.”
Weigh in: Do you think Palcohol should be sold in US retail stores?