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Powdered Alcohol Gets Approved. Then Unapproved. So What's Next?

In recent days, the food-flavored interwebs have been buzzing with news of powdered alcohol, a product that seemed primed to hit the shelves of liquor stores by fall of this year. The boozy powder, made by a company called Palcohol, was approved by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Which seems totally insane given the potential snorting/smuggling/general idiocy this product seems literally made for. 

But today news broke that the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau said that they basically approved the product by mistake, and they're rescinding the approval. Which is maybe good but also kind of disturbing that they could accidentally approve something. And it seems as though the backtracking could be in part because of the blatantly stupid marketing Palcohol was toying with. But let's take a few steps back. What is this miraculous powdered alcohol and what, if it ever came to be, would it look like?

Palcohol was to be sold in packets, much like Emergen-C. Each packet was supposed to be equivalent to one drink and would come in flavors like vodka and "kamikaze." The idea is that you could just add water, and voila! Perfect for the alcoholic back-country hiker or, you know, the alcoholic high school kid who wants to smuggle booze everywhere without a pesky bottle. 

But Palcohol was also hip to other uses, such as snorting and adding to food. In language that has since been removed from the company website, there was talk of snorting (which basically said: Yeah, sure you can do it, but it'd get you really drunk so don't!). But since then they've decided to change the formula, adding volume so it wouldn't be worth snorting. 

So, is our chance for powdered booze lost forever? Don't despair - the Palcohol website says that the problem is just with the fill-levels of the packets and they have re-submitted the application. "This doesn't mean that Palcohol isn't approved," the website says. "It just means that these labels aren't approved. We will re-submit labels."

So. Your dreams of taking nasty powdered lemon drops through security at the airport might still be a possibility. 


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